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Author of " Palestine ; or. The Holy Land," •• Polynesia," &c. 

' Time was they stood along the crowaed Stra^tyr;.; 
Temples of gods: and on .their ample stefs /.■'' 
■What various habits, various tongues Tieset ' 
The brazen gates, for prayer and sacrifice ! " 





Ih the View of Ancient and Modern Egypt exhibited in 
the following pages, its learned authoi' exercised great 
diligence in availing himself of the materials furnished 
both by ancient and modern writers, nor did he fail, in 
preparing a third edition for the press, to enrich it \\'ith 
information derived from the most recent publications 
both of French and English scholars. It is a singular 
evidence, however, of the activity and well-directed co- 
operation of the learned men of Europe in the present 
age, that the history of the most ancient people in the 
world is every year receiving new and important addi- 
tions. A period of twelve years has elapsed since Dr. 
Russell availed himself of the most recent labours of 
Rifaud, Wilkinson, Mure, Renwick, and Rosellini. But 
during that time the most important additions have been 
made to our knowledge of Egyptian history. The whole 
system of historic chronology has been revised by the 
aid of the established succession of Egyptian dynasties, 
and though as yet we cannot hope that more than a par- 
tial approximation to scientific chronological precision 
has been made, still the results are of the utmost value 
in the elucidation both of sacred and profane history. 

The wonderful and altogether unprecedented disco- 
veries of M. Botta and Dr. Layard, disclosing evidences 


of AssjTian power and grandeur, have revealed to us the 
elements of ancient Asiatic history contemporary with 
some of the most remarkable epochs in the Egjptian 

These disclosures have naturally conferred a new 
interest on the whole range of study comprehended in 
the archseological and hierological investigations of the 
monuments of Egypt, which have been originated and 
carried on with such gratifying success by the scholars 
of the present generation. It has therefore become in- 
dispensible to revise the valuable labours of Dr. Russell, 
in order to bring down his View of Ancient and ^Modern 
Egj'pt to the present day. Nearly one hundred pages of 
entirely new matter have accordingly been added, com- 
prehending a concise and popular history of the series 
of discoveries by means of which the problem of Egj^)- 
tian hieroglyphics has at length been completely solved. 
To this is added a view of the remarkably interesting 
light which these discoveries have already thrown on 
Scripture history, and the evidences they disclose in 
elucidation of the progress of the older nations of the 
world, whose annals have been obscured or lost in the 
lapse of time. In its present form this volume is confi- 
dently oflfered to the British reader as a valuable com- 
pendium both of historical and biblical illustration, 
derived from the most ancient of all existing records, — 
the paintings and the hieroglyphics of the great valley 
of the Nile, 

Edixbukgh, January, 1850. 

*»* The present edition of Bishop Russell's Eijj-pt, has, in addition to 
the historj' of the most recent observations and discoveries in relation 
to the ancient history and antiquities of that remarkable country, a 
Biographical Shetch of the latter days of Mohammed Ali. with notices of 
his son Ibrahim, and his grandson the reigning Viceroy of Egypt. 

Edinbcegh, January, 1852. 


to Alexander the Great— Lake Moeris; its Extent — The Nar- 
rative of Herodotus ; supported by Diodorus and Pomponius 

Mela Bahr Yousef — Remarks by Denon and Belzoni — Lake 

Moeris not a Work of Art — The River of Joseph and Canals 
connecting it with the Nile — The Labyrinth — Various Opi- 
nions as to its Situation— Pyramids ; Account by Herodotus; 
Researches of Davison ; of Caviglia ; of Belzoni ; Dimensions of 
Pyramids — Sphinx ; Exertions of Caviglia — Monolithic Temple 
— Tombs — Reflections — Canal of Bubastis — Its Length from 
Nile to Red Sea — Comprehends four Sections — Description 
of it by the Ancients — Its Dimensions — Reasons why it was 
partially abandoned — Re-established by the Caliph Omar — Sur- 
veyed by the French — Estimated Expense of Re-opening 
it, Page 73 



Remains of Egyptian Literature scanty but valuable — Meaning of 
Hieroglyphics — Picture-writing — Progress towards an Alphabet ; 
Illustrated by the Hebrew and other Oriental Tongues — Different 
Modes of Writing practised by the Egyptians, Epistolographic, 
Hieratic, and Hieroglyphic properly so called — Discovery of Ro- 
setta Stone — Researches of Dr Young and ChampoUion — The 
Practice of Chinese in rendering Words Phonetic — The Advan- 
tages of the Hieroglyphical JMethod — Discoveries of Mr Salt — 
Anecdote of King Thamus — Works of Thoth or Hermes — Quo- 
tation of Clemens Alexandrinus — Greeks learned History from 
Egypt — The Numerical System of the ancient Egyptians — 
The Arabians derived their Arithmetical Signs from Egyp- 
tians 139 




General Magnificence of Remains — Alexandria — Pillar — Cleopa- 
tra's Needle — Catacombs — Memphis — Beni Hassan — Hermopo- 
lis Magna — Antinopolis — Siout — Sepulchral Grottos — Temple of 
A.nt8BopoUs— Abydos — Dendera or Tentyra — jNIagnificent Temple 
and Portico — Elegant Sculptures — Zodiac and Planisphere — 
Opinions as to their Antiquity — Thebes — The Gateway or Pro- 
pylon at Luxor — Magnificent Sculptures — Karnac — The Temple ; 
its Approaches and splendid Gateways; its vast Extent— Tem- 
ples at Dair and Medinet Abou — The 3Iemnonium — Statue of 
Memnon — Tombs — Herment — Esneh — Eleithias— Striking Re- 
presentations of Domestic Life — Edfou — Hadjur Silsili — Koum 
Ombos — Es Souan — Quarries of Syene — Island of Elephantine — 
Concluding Remarks, Page 169 



Saracenic Dynasties — Foundation of Cairo — Crusaders — Saladin 
tJie Great — Siege of Ptolemais — Death of Saladin — Crusaders 
defeated — Rise of Mamlouks — The Borghites — Jlonguls and 
Tatars — Ibrahim Bey — Ali Bey ; his Syrian Campaign ; his 
Death and Character — Mohammed Bey — Ibrahim and Mourad — 
Invasion by the French — Defeat at Acre — Victory of Lord 
Nelson — Battle of Alexandria and Death of Abercromby — Eva- 
cuation of Egypt by the French — Treacherous Conduct of Has- 
san — Kusrouf Pasha — Mohammed Ali ; his Success against the 
Beys; is appointed Pasha — British Expedition in 1807 — Mas- 
sacre of IMamlouks — History of Wahabees ; defeated by Ibrahim 
Pasha—European Tactics introduced— Quarrel with the Porte- 


Ibrahim invades Syria — His great Success — Battle at Beilan— At 
Horns — He crosses Mount Taurus — Victory at Koniah — War 
in Arabia — Character of Mohammed Ali, Page 246 



Nature of Innovations — Members of Government — Household — 
Tenure of Land — Resumption of it by the Pasha — Condition of 
the People — Army — Number of jMen in Arms — Navy — Military 
Schools — Nautical Schools — European Arts — Canal of IMahmou- 
dieh — Introduction of Cotton Manufactures — Exportation of the 
raw Material to England — Fear of Plague — Silk, Flax, Sugar — • 
Monopoly of Viceroy — Disadvantages of it — Caravans — Imports 
and Exports — Revenue and Expenditure — Population — Copts, 
Arabs, Turks, Greeks, Jews, and Syrians — Characteristics — 
Cairo — Houses — Citadel — Joseph's Well, Joseph's Hall — Necro- 
polis — Tombs — Mosques — Palace at Shoubra — Splendid Pavil- 
ion — Comparison of Egypt before and under the Government of 
Jlohammed Ali — Future Prospects under his Successor, ...311 



Meaning of the Term Oasis — Those of Egypt described in various 
and opposite Colours — Used as Places of Exile — Their Number 
— The Great Oasis — Described by Sir A. Edmonstone — Ancient 
Buildings — Necropolis or Cemetery — Supposed Origin of such 
Land — Western Oasis — First visited by Sir A. Edmonstone — 
El Cazar— Soil — Position — The Little Oasis — El Kassar — Greek 
Temple— Fountain— El Haix— El Moele — Oasis of Siwah— De- 
scription of Towns — Of the Temple of Jupiter Ammon — Foun- 



tain of the Sun— Sacred Lake— Other Oases — Desert of the The- 
baid — Berenice — Trade — Account of an imaginary City by Cail- 

liaud — Situation and Extent of Berenice — Emerald Mountains 

Present Condition of Miners— Inhabitants of the Desert— Shar- 
kin — Myos Horraus — Cosseir, Page 357 



Groat Vai-iety of Manners in Egypt — Funeral Ceremonies described 
by Diodorus — Judgment pronounced on the Dead — Civil Suits 
in Ancient Times — Account of Coptic Baptism — Levantines — 
Moslem Marriages ; Description by Mr Browne — Interior of a 
Harem — Circassians — Ethiopian Women — Mode of Living 
among Turks ; among Europeans — Mosques — Mohammed Ali 
and Burckhardt— Language of Copts — Religion— Festival of Ca- 
lige— Virgin offered to the Nile ; a similar Custom in India- 
Female Mourners in Egypt — Dress of Ladies — Amusements of 
Cairo — Reptiles, Insects, Nuisances — Anecdote of Sir Sidney 
Smith — Reciters and Story-tellers — Opinion of Denon — Cha- 
racter of Egyptian Arabs — Houses — Mode of Life — Barbers 
— Doctors — Piety — Arabic Manuscripts — Serpent Eaters and 
Charmers — iVIagic — Dervishes — Mamlouk Notions of Respecta- 
bility, 381 



The Rosetta Stone — Legitimate interest of Egyptian Antiquities — 
Former Hieroglyphic investigations — Their futility — Kircher's 
System — George Zoega, Young, and Wilkinson — Personal contro- 
versy — Deciphering of the Rosetta Stone — Egyptian Papyri — 


The Coptic Language — Prospects of future discovery — Egyptian 
Mythology — Probability of future disclosures — Fruits of the 
Egyptian Expedition of Napoleon^ Page 423 



New system of Chronology — Imperfections and disagreements of old 
systems — Contemporaneous discoveries — Value of such coin- 
cidence — The Septuagint and its Chronology — Israel in Egypt — 
Change of Dynasty — The Exodus — Comparison of Egyptian and 
Hebrew Manners and Language — Canaan — Privileges of Elom 
and Egypt — Illustrations of the Song of Solomon — The Urim 
and Thummim — Illustrations from the potter's art — Symbol of 
Creation — The Judgment Scene — The Balance — TransmigratioE 
— Egyptian Mythology, 465 



Concurrent Testimony of independent observers — Chronological 
Tables — Abraham's visit to Egypt — Government of Joseph — Suc- 
ceeding Pharaohs — Egyptian Paintings and other records — The 
Cartouche — .Vssyrian Ivories — Ingenious mode of restoring them 
— Their Hieroglyphic Syrcbols — Probable Date — Mutual inter- 
course between Egypt and Assyria — Contemporary occurrences 
— ^Evidences from Scripture — Sheshonk and Rehoboam — Sup- 
posed Portrait of the Jewish King — Anticipation of further dis- 
coveries, 498 




Ambitious schemes of Mohammed Ali — His acquirement of the 
Ottoman fleet — Expedition to the Morea — The war carried into 
Syria — Ineffectual measures of the Sultan — Critical position of 
Turkey — Interference of England — Bombardment of St. Jean 
d'Acre— Mohammed Ali relinquishes Syria— Character of Ibra- 
him Pasha — Early amusements — Contrasted character of his 
father — Wretched state of the Egyptians — Abhas Pasha — 
Education and character., Page 511 




&c. &c. 


Importance of Egyptian Antiquities — Egypt an old Country in the 
Infant Age of Greece — Thebes famous in the Days of Homer — 
Learning and Science of Europe derived from Egypt through "W"'!^' 

Phenicia and Greece — Inquiry into the Source of Egyptian ^ 

Learning and Civilisation — The early Improvement of Nubia 
and Abyssinia — Resemblance between the Religion, the Symbols, 
and Architecture of India and of Egypt — Anecdote of the Sepoys 
in British Army — Remarks on the Temples in both Countries — 
A similar Resemblance between the Egyptians and Chinese — All 
primitive Tribes derived their Knowledge from the same Source 
— Institution of Castes in Egypt and India — Statements of He- 
rodotus and Diodorus on that Subject — Probability that Civi- 
lisation and the Arts descended the Nile — Contrast between their 
advanced Knowledge and their debased Worship — Reflection on 
the Importance attached to the durable Nature of Architectural 

In many respects Egj-pt has long appeared to the scholar, chap. i. 
the antiquary, and the pliilosopher, the most interesting jj,te:^ 
country on the face of the earth. Relatively to the attached to 
various trihes who, at successive eras, have founded ^^ ' 
states westward of the Black Sea and the Syrian Desert, 
it has with justice been regarded as the cradle of science, 
as well as the first seat of regular government. Even 


CHAP, i the polished nations of modern Europe are accustomed 
to ascribe the rudiments of their literature and aits to 
the ingenious people who, at a period beyond the records 
of civU history, occupied the banks of the NUe. 
Difficulti«sof It is, no doubt, extremely difficult to construct, out 
the subject ^^ ^^^^ scanty materials which have reached our times, 
a cham of narrative so complete as to connect, without 
omitting some essential links, the present with the past, 
and to enable us to derive an explanation of what we 
see from a competent knowledge of what we are told 
has been. Between the imrnediate successors of ilenes, 
twenty centuries before the Christian era, and the dele- 
gated rule which now directs the affairs of Eg^-pt, there 
is a wide gulf, through which neither the boldest archae- 
ologist has yet been able to establish a path, nor the 
eye of history to direct its vision. It requires even a 
great effort of imagination to combine the ideas of that 
magnificence which must have distinguished the epoch 
when Thebes was buUt, and the splendid monvunents 
of her kings were erected, with the facts which meet 
the view of the traveller in our own days, amid the 
desolations of Karnac and the ruins of Luxor. 
ABtiquity of The land of the Pharaohs, in truth, was an old coun- 
^S5^ try in the infant age of Greece. The earliest writers 

of Europe described its grandeur as having already 
reached its consummation, and even as beginning to 
pass away ; wliile the philosophers and historians wlio 
crossed the Mediterranean in search of knowledge, were 
astonished at the proofs of an antiquity wliich sui'passed 
all their notions of recorded time, and at the tokens of 
a wisdom, genius, and opulence, of which they could 
hardly hope that their countrjntnen would believe the 
Age of description. In the days of Homer the capital of the 

Homer. Thebaid, with its hundred gates and its vast population, 

was a subject of wonder and of the most exalted pane- 
gyric, — an effect which we should at once attribute to 
the exaggeration of the poet, were it not that the re- 
mains wliich, even after the lapse of three thousand 
,.ears, continue to resist the injuries of the atmosphere 


and of barbarism, bear evidence to a still greater mag- CH.\P. I. 
uificence than is recorded in the pages of the Odyssey. 
While the nations which at present make the greatest Hi^hcivUisa 
figure in the world, and influence most deeply the con- tion of Egypt 
dition of hmnan nature, had not yet passed through 
the fii-st stage of social life, the inhabitants of Thebes 
and ]\Iemphis had made a vast progress in civilisation, 
and were even found gratifying a learned curiosity by 
inquiries into the constitution of the universe, and into 
the laws which regulate the movements of the heavenly 
bodies. Nor was it only the learning and mythological 
doctrines which characterized the brightest periods of 
Greece and Rome that were borrowed from the Egyp- 
tians. We can trace to the same source those more Source of 
valuable sciences which exercised the talents of the kDowied^'e 
most ancient and renowned among European sages, 
P^-thagoras condescended to study the elements of ma- 
thematics in the schools of the priests ; while Hecataeus 
and Herodotus collected the materials of liistory among 
the same class of men, who liad carefully preserved the 
knowledge of former generations. 

Tlie Greeks, it has been frequently remarked, were Comparatirt 
the only nation in Europe who had any pretensions to ^"e^c"^'^ ^^ 
antiquity. But the wisest even among that ambitious 
people considered themselves as of yesterday compared 
to the Egyptians. Plato confessed that his countrjTnen 
had no memorial of any event beyo)id a thousand or at 
most two thousand years before his own time ; whereas, 
in the days of Moses, the wisdom of Egypt had already 
become proverbial, and that, too, among the SjTian 
tribes who bordered upon the original seats of primeval 
knowledge. Phenicia, which appears to have set the Phenicia 
first example of commercial intercourse to the rude 
colonies on the northern shores of the great sea, proved 
the medium through Avliich the learning, the laws, and 
the religion of the NUe were conveyed to the ancestors 
of those brave and ingemous nations wlio have since 
associated an imperishable fame with the memory of 
Athens and Lacedemon. Tiie names of Cadmus, Ce- 




Source of 

with Asia. 

Similarity of 
Indian and 
Egj-ptian re^ 

crop8, and Danaus, continue to represent those missions 
or voluntary migrations wliich, at a remote period, 
transpoited from Africa to Europe the treasures of 
oriental wisdom. 

It has long been an object of inquiry among scholars 
to discover the channel through which civilisation, 
science, and an acquaintance Avith tlie liberal arts, first 
reached the valley wliich is watered by the Nile. With- 
out analyzuig the numerous hypotheses which have been 
successively formed and abandoned, or repeating the 
various conjectures which have, age after age, amused 
the ingenuity of the learned, we shall state at once, as 
the most probable of the opinions entertained on this 
subject, that the stream of knowledge accompanied the 
progress of commerce along the banks of those great 
rivei-s Avhich fall into the Persian Gulf, and thence 
along the coast of Arabia to the shores of the Red Sea. 
There is the best reason to believe that those passes or 
lateral defiles, which connect the sea just named with 
till! river of Egypt, witnessed the earliest migration of 
ciloni^ts from Asia ; who, in the pursuits of commerce, 
or in stuirch of more fertile lands, or of mountains en- 
riched Avith gold, found their way into Nubia and 
Abyssinia. ISIcantime, it is probable, a similar current 
set eastward across the mouths of the Indus, carrying 
arts and institutions of a corresponding character into 
tlie countries which stretch from that river to the great 
peninsula of Hindostan. 

The most obvious confirmation of the opinion now 
stated may be drawn from the striking resemblance 
wliich is known to subsist between the usages, the 
superstitions, the arts, and the mythology of the ancient 
inliabitants of Western India, and tliose of the first 
settlers on tlie Upper NUe. The temples of Nubia, for 
example, exhibit the same features, whether as to the 
style of architecture or the form of worship to which 
they were devoted, with the similar buddings which 
have been recently examined in tlie neighbourhood of 
Bombay. In both cases they consist of vast excavations 


hewn out in the solid body of a lull or mountain, and chap, l 
are decorated with huge figures which indicate the 
same powers of nature, or serve as emblems to denote 
the same qualities in the i-uling sjsirits of the universe. 

As a farther proof of this hypothesis, we are infomied Supposed 
that the sepoys ^ho joined the British ai-my in Egypt, 5^^^^°' 
under Lord Hutchinson, imagined that they found tlieii- 
own temples in the ruins of Dendera, and were greatly 
exasperated at the natives for their neglect of the an- 
cient deities, whose images are stUl preserved. So 
strongly, indeed, were they impressed with this identity, 
that they proceeded to perform their devotions with all 
the ceremonies practised ia their own land. There is 
a resemblance, too, in the minor insti"uments of their Correspond- 
superstition, — the lotus, the lingam, and the serpent, — tani"" ^ 
which can hardly be regarded as accidental ; but it is, 
no doubt, in the immense extent, the gigantic plan, the 
vast conception which appear in all their sacred build- 
ings, that we most readily discover the influence of the 
same lofty genius, and the endeavour to accomplish the 
same mighty object. The excavated temple of Guerfeh 
Hassan, for instance, remmds every traveller of the cave Ca\e temples, 
of Elephanta. The resemblance, indeed, is singularly 
strOvUig ; as are, in fact, all the leading principles of 
Egj-ptian architecture to that of the Hindoos. In both 
countries large masses of rock have been excavated into 
hollow chambers, the sides of wliich are decorated with 
columns and statues of men and animals carved out of 
the same stone ; and in each are found solid blocks 
weighing many hundred tons, separated from the adjoin- 
ing mountain and lifted tip into the air. By whom 
and by what means these wonderful efforts have been 
accomplished is a mystery sunk too deep in the abyss 
of time ever to be revealed. To Greece neither country Derivation of 
is indebted for any paii of its architecture, while she j^ct^e^"''^ 
has evidently taken many hints from them. Except at 
Alexandria and Antinoe, no edifice strictly Grecian 
appears in Egj'pt. But we need only compare the 
monolitliic temples of Nubia with those of Mahabali- 



nsages of 

CHAP. I. poor, the excavations of Guerfeh Hassan with those of 
Elephanta, and the grottos of Hadjur Silsili, as described 
by Pococke, with the caverns of Ellora, to be convinced 
that these sacred moniunents of ancient days derived 
their origin from the same source.* 

A resemblance of a corresponding nature has been di&- 
covei-ed in the religious usages of tlie Chinese, compared 
with those of the Egyptians, particularly in what is called 
the Feast of Lamps, — a festival annually observed by 
the latter people, and graphically described by Herodotus 
in his second book. This coincidence in a ceremony so 
little likely to suggest itself to the minds of men who 
had no intercourse with one another, led M. de Guignes 
to conclude that the first inhabitants of China must have 
been a colony from Eg}^t. But it is easy to account for 
all such facts upon a much more obvious as well as a 
more rational hj-pothesis. No one can have failed to 
Correspond- remark, that among the most ancient nations there is a 
ent tradi- gi'cat similarity in point of tradition, habits, opinions, 
tions. knowledge, and history. The Babylonians, the Egyp- 

tians, the Assj'rians, the Hindoos, and the descendants of 
Abraliam, held many things in common respecting the 
creation of the world, the great deluge, the dispersion of 
the human race, and the first institution of law^s and re- 
ligious worship. Hence we may conclude that the ge- 
neral agreement in these particulars, which we contem- 
plate among the more primitive tribes of mankind, ought 
to be ascriljcd to the instruction which they had received 
while as yet they were but one family, or to the tradi- 
tionary t<uiets which had spread with the diverging lines 
of their generations, though derived originally from the 
same primeval source. 

But by far the most striking point of resemblance 
between the inhabitants of Egypt and of India is the 
institution of castes, — that singular arrangement which 
places an insuperable barrier between diff"erent orders of 

of castes. 

See Leah's Joximey in Egypt and Nubia, and Quarterly He-. 
iie-71, vol. xvi. p. 18. 


men in the same country, and renders their respective chap, l 
honours, toils, and degradation, strictly hereditary and source of 
permanent. Before the invention of letters, indeed, man- such orders 
Ivind may be said to have been perpetually in their in- ° ^"'^'^ ^' 
fancy ; whence arose the expedient, founded in a desire 
to promote the public good, of compelling sons to culti- 
vate the arts which had originated in their family, and 
to follow the professions whereby their fathers had ac- 
quired distinction. In allusion to the four classes into 
wliich the natives are divided, the Hindoos maintain 
that, from the mouth of their god Brama issued a priest, 
from the arm came forth a soldier, from the thigh pro- 
ceeded a husbandman, and from his feet sprang the ser- 
vile multitude. The nairative of Herodotus bears evi- 
dence to the same institution at an early period among 
the Egyptians. He indeed divides the fourth caste into Egyptian 
sevei'al subordinate sections, — tradesmen, shepherds, in- <^^^ 
terpretei-s, and pilots, — and thereby presents the appear- 
ance of a still more mmnte distinction than prevailed in 
the East ; but liis statement, when compared with that 
of Diodorus Siculus at a later epoch, removes every 
shadow of doubt with regard to the identity of the prin- 
ciple from wliich this political arrangement must have 
originally proceeded. The last-named historian reduces 
the orders to three, — priests, including men of rank; the 
military ; and artisans. It is obvious, however, that as 
husbandmen and labourers are omitted, we must com- 
prehend in the third grade all the classes who practise 
those arts which are necessary to the subsistence, the 
comfort, and the ornament of human Ufe. 

We may also mention, as in some degree connected Medical 
with the division of labour now described, that medical ^'^'®''*^^ 
science, even before the days of Herodotus, must have 
been very carefully studied, if we may draw such a con- 
clusion from the fact that at the period when he wrote 
one physician was confined to one disease. There are, he 
adds, a great many who practise this art ; some attend 
to disorders of the eyes, others to those of the head ; some 
take care of the teeth, others are conversant with all d is- 



Evidence of 

CHAP. I. eases of the intestines ; whilst many attend to the cure 
of maladies which are less conspicuous.* The historian 
could not have mentioned a circumstance more charac- 
teristic of a people advanced to a liigh degree of ci'silisa- 
tion. Of the Babylonians, among whom he also travel- 
led, he relates that they have no professors of medicine, 
but that they caiTy theu* sick into some pubUc square, 
with the view of getting advice from any one who may 
happen to have been afflicted with the same illness. The 
passengers in general, says he, interrogate the sufferer 
respecting the nature of his malady, in order that if any 
one of them has been attacked with a similar disease 
himself, or seen its operation on a third person, he may 
communicate the process by which liis o^vn recovery 
was effected, or by which, m any other instance, he has 
known the distemper to be removed. No one may pass 
by a diseased individual in silence, or without inquiry 
into the symptoms of liis complaint.t 

But, to retui'n to the main subject now before us, we 
may take leave to express our conviction that, in pro- 
portion as the antiquities of Egypt shall be brought into 
a clearer light, the evidence will become more satisfac- 
tory in favour of an early intercoiu-se between Hindostan 
and the upper regions of the NUe. It is already ascer- 
tained that the arts, as practised in the Thebaid, and 
Antiquity of even in the neighbourhood of Memphis, must have de- 
scended from Ethiopia, — the style of sculpture in the 
latter bearing a more ancient aspect than any specimen 
of that kind of workmansliip hitherto discovered below 
the cataracts. The temples, too, on the banks of the 
river above these falls, bear a closer resemblance to those 
of India than the corresponding edifices in the lower parts 
of the country, while they exliibit the undoubted marks 
of a more remote antiquity. The same conclusion is 
farther supported by the celebrity which the Ethiopians 
had acquired in the earliest age that tradition or poetry 
has revealed to us. The annals of the Egyptian priests 

India and 

* Hprodotus, Euterpe, chap. 84. 

t Clio, chap. 197. 


were fall of them. The nations of Asia, in like manner, chap, l 
on the Tigris and Euphrates, mingled Ethiopian legends 
with the songs which commemorated the exploits of 
their own heroes. At a time, too, when the Greeks Greek 
scarcely knew Italy or Sicily by name, the virtues, the 
civilisation, and the mythology of the Ethiopians, sup- 
pUed to their poets a sulsject of lofty description. Homer, 
both in the lUad and Odyssey, relates that Jupiter, at a 
certain season of the year, departed from his chosen seat 
on Olympus to visit this remote and accomplished people. Mythological 
For twelve days the god was absent in their pious and "" '°°^ 
hospitable region. It is probable that some annual pro- 
cession of the priests of Ammon up the Nile, to the pri- 
mitive scene of their worship, was the groundwork of 
this legend adopted into the popular creed of the older 
Greeks. Diodorus himself expresses a similar opuiion, 
when he states that the Ethiopians were said to be the 
inventors of pomps, sacrifices, solemn assemblies, and Ethiopian 
of all the honours paid to the gods ; in other words, that Eg)T)tians. 
they were the rehgious parents of the Egj^tians, to 
whom the countrymen of Homer and Hesiod looked up 
as to their instructors in sacred things, as well as in the 
principles of cI'vtI polity. It has therefore been thought 
probable that ancient Meroe was the original seat of the 
religion, the political institutions, the arts, and the letters, 
which afterwards shed so bright a lustre on the kingdom 
of the Pharaohs.* 

There is nothing more remarkable in the history of Degrading 
Egypt than that the same people who distinguished Hcs^of theTr 
themselves by an early progress in civilisation, and who m>'thoiogy. 
erected works which have survived the conquests of Per- 
sia, the triumphs of Roman art, and all the architectural 
labours of Christianity, should have degraded their fine 
genius by the worship of four-footed beasts, and even of 
disgusting reptiles. The world does not present a more 
humbling contrast between the natural powers of intel- 
lect and the debasing effect of superstition. Among the 

* Heeren's Ideas on the Politics and Commerce of Ancient Nations- 




Contrast of 
the Jews. 

with the 

nature of 
their buUJ- 

Jews, on the other hand, — a people much less elevated 
by science and mechanical knowledge, — we find a sublime 
system of theology, and a ritual which, if not strictly 
entitled to the appellation of a reasonable service, was 
yet comparatively pure in its ordinances, and stUl farther 
refined by a lofty and spiritual import. It has been said 
of the Hebrews, that they were men in religion, and 
children in every thing else. This observation may be 
reversed in the case of the Eg^'ptians ; for, while in the 
greater number of those pursuits which give dignity to 
the human mind, and perpetuate the glories of civilized 
life, they made a progress which set all rivalry at defi- 
ance, — in their notions and adoration of the invisible 
powers who preside over the destinies of man, they 
manifested the imbecility, the ignorance, and the credu- 
lity of childhood. 

In reviewing the annals of the great nations of anti- 
quity, it is interesting to observe that nearly all the 
knowledge we possess of their manners and institutions 
may be attributed to the choice they made of a material 
for building. As the rise of Egj'ptian power and wisdom 
preceded a long time the era of letters, the history of 
the more ancient kings, must have been lost, had the 
architectural monuments of the former people not been 
constructed of more imperishable substances than were 
to be found in the alluvial plains of Asia. In connexion 
^^^th these reflections, it may not be unreasonable to 
express a hope, that the study of hieroglyphics will, one 
day, so far dispel the darkness which hangs over the an- 
nals and chronology of Egj-pt as to enable the historian 
to ascertain at least the order of events and the succes- 
sion of monarchs. 



Physical Properties and Geographical Distribution oj 

General Description of Egypt — Extent of its Surface — Opinions as 
to the Source of the Nile — Egypt the Gift of the River — Depth of 
the Soil — Attempts to ascertain the Mean Rate of Deposition- 
Opinions of Shaw, Savary, Volney, and Bruce — Speculations of the 
French Philosophers — Proof that Egypt has acquired an Elevation 
of Surface — Fear of Dr Shaw in regard to the eventual Sterility of 
the Land — Constancy of the Inundations — Frauds by the Go- 
vernment — Qualities of the Water — Analysis of the 3Iud — Acci- 
dent witnessed by Belzoni — Seasons in Egypt — Heat — Infrequen- 
cy of Rain — The Winds, Simoom — The Political Geography of 
Egypt — Mouths of the Nile — Natron Lakes — Waterless River. 

The physical qualities of Egypt are not less remarkable chap, is 
than its stupendous works of art and its early civilisation, physical 
It presents itself to the eye of the traveller as an im- character oi 
mense valley, extending nearly 600 mUes in length, and 
hemmed in on either side by a ridge of hills and a vast 
expanse of desert. Viewed as an alluvial basin, it owes 
its existence entirely to the NUe, which flows through 
it from south to north, conveying annually to the inha- Basin of ti-.e 
bitants the main source of their agricultural wealth, 
salubrity to theii- climate, and beauty to their landscape. 
The breadth of the cultivable soil varies, of course, ac- 
cording to the direction of the rocky barriers by which 
its limits are determined, — spreading at some parts into 
a spacious plain, while at others it contracts its dimen- 
sions to less than two leagues. The mean width has 
been estimated at twenty-seven miles ; and hence, in- 
cluding the whole area from the shores of the Delta to 





Obscurity as 
to the soui-ce 
of the Nile. 

Bttempts to 
iiscorer it. 

Royal com- 

Notices of 
the Poets. 

the first cataract, the extent of land capable of bearing 
crops has been reckoned about ten millions of acres. 

The Nile, as if it were doomed for ever to share the 
obscurity which covers the ancient history of the land to 
which it ministers, still conceals its true sources from 
the eager curiosity of modem science. The question 
wliich was agitated in the age of the Ptolemies has not 
yet been solved ; and although 2000 years have elapsed 
since Eratosthenes published his conjectures as to the 
origin of the princijml branch, we pos.sess not more satis- 
factoi-y knowledge on that particular point than was 
enjoyed m his days by the philosophers of Alexandria. 
The repeated failures, Avhich had already attended the 
various attempts to discover its fountains, convinced the 
geographers of Greece and Rome that success Avas impos- 
sible, and that it was the will of the gods to conceal from 
all generations tliis gi-eat secret of nature. Homer, in 
language sufficiently ambiguous, describes it as a stream 
descendmg from heaven. Herodotus made inquiry witli 
regard to its commencement, but soon saw reason to re- 
linquish the attempt as altogether fruitless. Alexander 
the Great and Ptolemy Philadelphus engaged in the 
same undertaking, and despatched persons well qualified 
by their knowledge for the arduous task, but who, never- 
theless, like the great father of history himself, travelled 
and inquu-ed in vain. Pomponius Mela was doubtful 
whether it did not rise in the country of the Antipodes. 
Pliny traced it in imagination to a mountain in the 
Lower Mauritania ; while Euthemenes was of opinion 
that it proceeded from the borders of the Atlantic, and 
penetrated through the heart of Africa, diAdding it into 
two continents. Virgil seems to have favoured an hy- 
pothesis, which also found supporters at a later period, 
that the Nile proceeded from the East, and might be 
identified with one of the great rivers of Asia. 

" Quaque pharetratae vicinia Persidis urget, 

Et viridem ./Kgyptura nigra foecundat arena, 

Et diversa ruens septem discurrit in era 

Usque coloratis amnis devexus ab Indis." — Georg. iv. 200 



" And where the stream from India's swarthy sons CHAP 11. 

Close on the verge of quiver'd Persia runs, 

Broods o'er green Egypt with dark wave of mud. 
And pours through many a mouth its branching flood." 


Lucan indulges in his usual mysticism, and appears Lucan and 
satisfied that, by a decree of the Fates, the glory of no Lucretius, 
nation wUl ever be increased by drawuig aside the veU 
in which the Naiads of this mighty stream have been 
pleased to conceal themselves. The conceptions of Lu- 
cretius, the poet of physical nature, were perhaps more 
correct, although obviously founded upon a fortunate 
conjecture rather than derived fiom actual research. 

" Ille ex aestifera parti venit amnis, ab Austro, 

Inter nigra virum, percoctaque secla calore, 

Exoriens penitus media ab regione diei." — Lib. vi. 721. 

" While rolls the Nile adverse, 
Full from the South, from realms of torrid heat, — 
Haunts of the Ethiop tribes ; yet far beyond. 
First bubbling distant o'er the burning line." — Good. 

It cannot have escaped notice that the judgment formed Herodotus. 
by Herodotus with respect to the course of this celebrated 
river comcides, in a great degree, with the conclusions 
held by many modem authors. He remarks that, with- 
out mcluding the section between Sycne and the Medi- 
terranean, the progress of the Nile is knowna to the ex- 
tent of four months' journey, partly by land and partly 
by water. There is no doubt, he adds, that it rises in the 
west ; but be^'ond a certain people, whom he calls the 
Automolians, he admits that aU is uncertaintj', this por- 
tion of Africa being, from the excessive heat, a rude and 
uncultivated desert.* 

It is no longer disputed that the left branch, the Bahr Jljfg^'"^''^ 
el Abiad or White River, constitutes the principal body 
of the Nile, and that it flows towards Eg^'pt from the 
west or south-west. Mr Browne was informed that it 

• Euterpe, 28-33. 


CHAP. IL issues from a lofty ridge situated to the south of Daifoor, 
MountaTns of ^''^^^'^ ^^i the language of the country Gebel el Kumri or 
the Moon. Mountains of the Moon. But it is important to observe 
that the south wmds are thei-e the hottest and driest of 
any, and bring along with them thick clouds of dust. 
Tliis shows that there is no higli chain within a great 
distance in the du-ection now described ; for the winds, 
before they can be possessed of such qualities, must 
sweep over a great extent of sandy desert. 
Elements of ]\"or is it a slight circumstance, in weighing the evi- 
tjon. dence on both sides of tliis question, to be remmded that 

the quantity of mud brought down by the Nile cannot 
be washed annually from the rocky channel of a moim- 
tain-torrent. Tliis fact was employed liy Bruce as the 
basis of his argument agamst those writers who ascribe 
the increase of the Delta to tlie depositions of the river, 
and was obtained by personal observation of the Balir el 
Azrek, in its course tlu'ough the greater part of Abys- 
intei-meaiate sinia. It is therefore certain that the White River cuts 
count))-. ^ passage through a considerable extent of rich soil before 
it approaches the granitic range which bounds the west- 
cm extremity of Nubia. The tropical rains coUect on 
the table-lands of the interior, where they form immense 
sheets of water or temporary lakes. When these have 
rheon- of the reached a level high enough to overflow the boundaries 
aow^f th ''"^' '^^ t'^^li' basms, they suddenly send down into the rivers 
KUe. an enormous volume of fluid unpregnated with the soft 

earth over Avliich it has for some time stagnated. Hence 
the momentary pauses and sudden renewals in the rise 
of the Nile, — hence, too, the abundance of fertilizing 
slime, which is never found so copious in the waters of 
rivers that owe their mcrease solely to the direct influ- 
ence of the rains.* 

There is a fact, however, which ought not to be omit- 
ted, as being of some value in the detei-mination of the 
problem now before us ; namely, that the Wliite River 
begins to swell three or four weeks before the Abyssinian 

* -Alalte-Brun, vol. iv p. 8. 



branch receives any accession of -water. This may be chap, il 
thought to indicate that the source of the Bahr el Abiad j^atiii^ 
must be fai-ther south than the springs which Brace indications, 
reached in the meadows of Geesh ; for it is well known 
that the rainy season in every part of the torrid zone 
accompanies the vertical position of the sun. But from 
these considerations, perhaps, as also from many others 
which might be adduced, we ought only to conclude Extent of 
that the most learned geographers are still very much in j^owTeVe^ 
the dark relative to the origin of the magnificent stream ?n p^^ sub- 
to which Africa owes its chief distinction, as well as with 
regard to the geological phenomena of that remarkable 
kingdom, from which the ci\'il historian derives his clear- 
est views of the primitive state of the western world. 

It is an observation as old as the days of Herodotus, Dependence 
that Egj-pt is the gift of the NUe. This historian ima- theNUe. °^' 
gined that all the lower division of the country was 
formerly a deep bay or arm of the sea, and that it had 
been gradually filled up by depositions from the river. 
He illustrates his reasoning on this subject by supposing 
that the present appearance of the Red Sea resembles 
exactly the aspect which Eg}'pt must have exhibited in 
its original state ; and that, if the Nile by any means 
were admitted to flow into the Arabian Gulf, it would, 
in the course of twenty thousand years, convey into it 
such a quantity of earth as would raise its bed to the 
level of the surrounding coast. I am of opinion, he sub- 
joins, that tliis might take place even within ten thou- 
sand years ; why then might not a bay still more spa- 
cious than this be choked up with mud, in the time 
which passed before our age, by a stream so great and 
powerful I* 

The men of science who accompanied the French ex- Trench 
pedition into Egj'pt undertook to measure the depth of ^'*'*'^*- 
alluvial matter which has been actually deposited by the 
river. By sinking pits at diiFerent mtervals, both on its 
banks and at the outer edge of the alluvial stratum, they 

• Euterpe, chap. 11. 




ments of the 
alluvial soil. 

amount of 
annual de- 

Opinion of 

ascertained satisfactorily, — first, that the surface of the 
soil slopes downward from the margin of the stream tc 
the foot of the hills ; secondly, that the thickness of the 
deposite is generally about ten feet ntar the river, and 
decreases gradually as it recedes from it ; and, thirdly, 
that beneath the mud there is a bed of sand analogous 
to the substance which has at all times been brought 
down by the current. This convex form assumed by 
the surface of the valley is not peculiar to Egypt, — ^be- 
ing common to the banks of all great rivers where the 
quantity of soil transported by their waters is greater 
than that which is washed down by rain from the neigh- 
bouring mountains. The plains which skui; the Missis- 
sippi and the Ganges present in many parts an example 
of the same phenomenon. 

An attempt has likewise been made to ascertain the 
I'ate of this annual deposition, and thereby to measure the 
depth of soil which has been conferred upon the valley 
of Egypt by the action of its river. But on no point 
are travellers less agreed than with regard to the change 
of level and the increase of land on the seacoast. Dr 
Shaw and M. Savary take a position on the one side, 
and are resolutely opposed by Bruce and Volney on the 
other. Herodotus informs us, that, in the reign of 
Moeris, if the Nile rose to the height of eight cubits, all 
the lands of Egypt were sufficiently watered ; but that 
in his OAvn time, — not quite nine hundred years later, — 
the country was not covered -wdth a less depth than 
fifteen or sixteen cubits. The additional elevation, 
therefore, was equal to seven cubits at the least, or a 
hundred and twenty-six inches, in the course of nine 
hundred years. " But at present," says Dr Shaw, " the 
river must rise to the height of twenty cubits — and it 
usually rises to twenty-four — before the whole country 
is overflowed. Since the time, therefore, of Moeris, 
Egypt has gained new soil to the depth of two hundred 
and thirty inches. And if we look back fi-om the reign 
of that prince to the time of the Deluge, and reckon the 
interval by the same proportion, we shall find that the 


whole perpendicular accession of the soil, from the chap. n. 
event now mentioned to a, d, 1721, must be 500 inches ; xjitimate 
in other words, the land of Eg^-pt has gained 41 feet 8 effects of 
inches of soil in 4072 years. Thus, in process of time, g/J^o^ ^^'^ 
the whole country may be raised to such a height that 
the river Avill not be able to overflow its banks ; and 
Egj'pt consequently, from being the most fertile, will, 
for want of the annual inundation, become one of the 
most barren parts of the universe.* 

Were it possible to detennine the mean rate of accu- Vaineofsuch 
raulation, a species of chronometer would be thereby 
obtained for measuring the lapse of time which has 
passed since any monument or other work of art in the 
neighbourhood of the river was originally founded. 
In applying this principle, it is not necessary to assume 
an}' thing more than that the building in question was 
not placed by its architect under the level of the river 
at its ordinary inundations, — a postulatum which, in 
regard to palaces, temples, and statues, will be most 
readily granted. Proceeding on this ground, the French 
philosophers hazarded a conjecture respecting a number 
of dates, of which the following are some of the most 
remarkable : — 

1. The depth of the soil round the colossal statue of rreiich calcn- 
Memnon, at Thebes, gives only 0.106 of a metre (less °°* 
than four inches) as the rate of accumulation in a cen- 
tury, while the mean of several observations made in 
the valley of Lower Egypt gives 0.126 of a metre, or 
rather more than four inches. But the basis of the 
statue of jNIemnon was certainly raised above the level 
of the inundation by being placed on an artificial mound ; 
and excavations made near it show that the original 
height of that teiTace was six metres (19.686 feet) above 
the level of the soil. A similar result is obtained from 
examining the foundations of the palace at Luxor. Tak- 
ing, therefore, 0.126 of a metre, the mean secular aug- 
mentation of the soil, as a divisor, the quotient, 4760, 

' Shaw's Travels, vol. ii. p. 234. 



CHAP. IL gives the number of years wliich have elapsed since the 

^ — -^ foundation of Thebes was laid. This date, -which ot 
Date of the , . ■ ^ 3 • _j? ^ 

foundation of course can only be considerea as a very unpertect ap- 

Thebes. proximation to the tnith, carries the origin of that 

celebrated metropolis as far back as 2960 years before 
Christ, and consequently 612 years before the Deluge, 
according to the reckoning of the modem Jews. But 
the numbers given by them differ materially from those 
of the Samaritan text and the Septuagint version ; which, 
carrying the Deluge back to the year 3716 before Christ, 
make an interval of seven centui'ies and a half between 
the flood and the building of Thebes. Though no 
distinct account of the age of that city is to be disco- 
vered in the Greek historians, it is clear from Diodorus 
that they believed it to have been founded at a very 
remote period.* 

2. The deposition made at the foot of the obelisk of 
Luxor indicates that it was erected fourteen hundred 
yeai's before the Christian era. 

3. The causeway wliich crosses the plain of Siout 
furnishes a similar ground for supposing that it must 
have been constracted twelve hundred years prior to the 
same epoch. 

4. The pillar at Heliopolis, six miles from Cairo, 
appears, from evidence strictly analogous, to have been 
raised about the period just specified. But as the waters 
drain off more slowly in the Delta than in Upper 
Egypt, the accumulation of alluvial soO. is more rapid 
there than higher up the stream ; whence it follows 
that the foundations of ancient buildings in the former 
district are at as great a depth below the surface as those 
of much greater antiquity iu the jMiddle and Upper 
provinces. It is obvious, however, that, to form these 
calculations with such accui-acy as would render them 
less liable to dispute, more time and observation are 

Obelisk of 

Siont Cause- 

PiUar at 

* Died. Sic. lib. i. c. 15, afi(piirlly,riiTai 5= ti UTitn; m; ToXiUf 


requisite than could be given by tlie French in the short chap. ii. 
period during wliich they continued in undisturbed xecelsiTy for 
possession of the country'. There is one general and funiierin- 

. , , • • r ii • • • • vestigation. 

unpoitant consequence arismg trom their inquiries, 
which can hardly be either overlooked or denied ; 
namely, that the dates thus obt-ained are as remote from 
the extravagant clirouology of the ancient Egyptians as 
they are consistent witli the testimony of history, both 
sacred and profane, with regard to the early civilisation 
of that interesting people.* 

But his reliance on such conclusions will be greatly uncertain 
diminished when the reader calls to mind that it is no f'e™e°ts 'n 

the question. 
longer possible to ascertain, in the first jslace, whether 

the measures refeiTcd to by the ancient historians were 
in aU cases of the same standard ; and, secondly, whether 
the deposition of soU in the Egyptian valley did not 
proceed more rapidly in early times than it does ia our 
days, or even than it has done ever since its effects first 
became an object of philosophical curiosity. That the 
level of the land has been raised, and its extent towards change of 
the sea greatly increased since the age of Herodotus, we j*^^^^ ''^ "** 
might safely infer, as well from the great infusion of 
earthy matter which is held in suspension by the Nile 
when in a state of flood, as from the analogous opera- 
tion of all large rivers, both in the old continents and 
in the new. There is, in truth, no good reason for 
questioning the fact mentioned b}^ Dr Shaw, that the 
mud of Ethiopia has been detected by soundings at the 
distance of not less than twenty leagues from the coast 
of the Delta. 

But there is not any substantial ground for appre- Unsubstan- 
hending, with the author just named, that in process of fj^^jon^*^' 
time the whole country may be raised to such a height 

• See article "Egypt" in Encyclopaedia Metropolitana. The 
{!Tounds which may be alleged for giving a preference in point of 
chronology to the Samaritan text, or even to the Septiiagint, and 
the singular approximation to the former, resulting from a mean 
taken between it, the Hindoo, and the Chinese epochs, are ably 
stated by Klaproth in his Asia Pulyglotta, 25-29. 





CHAP. IL that the river will no longer overflow its banks ; and 
consequently that Egypt, instead of being the most fer- 
tile, will, for want of the aimual inundation, become 
one of the most barren parts of the globe. The fears 
Counteract- of the learned traveller might have been removed by 
ing process, ^j^^ following reflections. As the formation of land in 
the Delta proceeds at a quicker rate than in the higher 
parts of the basin, tbe issue of water into the sea 
becomes every year less rapid, and consequently less 
copious ; the current is retarded by the accumulation 
of mud ; the mouths are successively choked by the 
increasing masses of sand and soil ; and hence, in the 
course of ages, the stream, creating a barrier against its 
o^Ti escape, is throAvn back upon the more elevated 
portion of the valley, and becomes the wUling ser^^ant 
of the agiiculturist from Rosetta to the Cataracts. The 
same opmion is expressed by Lucretius in the followmg 
verses : — 

" Est quoque, uti possit magnus congestus arenas 

Fluctibus aversis oppilare ostia contra, 

Cum mare permotum ventis ruit intus arenam : 

Quo sit uti pacto liber minus exitus amni, 

Et proclivus item fiat minus impetus undis." 

Lib. vi. V. 724 

" Then ocean, haply, by the undevious breeze 
Blown up its channel, heaves with every wave 
Heaps of high sands, and dams its wonted course : 
Whence narrower, too, its exit to the main. 
And with less force, the tardy stream descends." 

While this cause continues to operate in checking the 
velocity of the inundation in the northern di\'ision of 
the country, the entrance of the river at PhUoe is gra- 
dually facilitated by the removal of those obstructions 
wliich, in ancient times, secured to Kubia the advan- 
tages of an annual irrigation such as Egypt now enjoys, 
and which still partially oppose the motion of the de- 
scending flood. The traveller discovers on both sides of 
the Nubian valley many traces of an extended cultiva- 
tion which no longer exists. The ridge of rocks that 
fonnerly crossed the line of the river, and gave rise to 

Former irri- 
gation of 


tlie magnificent falls, the sound of wliich was heard at chap, il 
the distance of many leasnies, and stunned the neis:h- r,. : :. „ 

JO' o Diminution 

bouring inhabitants, has been insensibly worn dovra by of the falls. 

the action of the mshing water, and presents in these 

days only a few tokens of its original extent. A smiilar 

effect, which tune will produce on the cliffs of Niagara, 

will be attended with a similar result on the chain of Corresp jnd- 

lakes that terminate in Ontario, — the contents of wliich in^Americr 

will at length find their way to the ocean along the bed 

of the St Lawrence. In the remote ages of the future, 

the immense valleys now occupied by Superior, Michigan, 

Erie, and those other inland seas which form so striking 

a feature in North America, wDl be covered with flocks, 

herds, and an agiicultural population, and only watered 

by a fine river passing through their centre. In this 

way the interior of every continent is imperceptibly 

drained, .while new tracts of alluvial land are added to 

its extremities. 

That Eg}-pt was raised and augmented in the manner Evidence 
described above, is rendered manifest by a variety of ^'^anpe fn 
considerations. It is particularly deserving of notice, as Kg>-pt- 
suggested by Dr Shaw and confirmed by the French, 
that whereas the soU of other level countries is usually 
of the same depth, we find it in Egj'pt to vary in pro- 
portion to its distance from the river, — being in some 
places near the banks more than thu-ty feet, while at 
the extremity of the inundation it does not exceed six 
inches. Another cii'cumstance which fortifies the same Position of 
conclusion, is the practice, long since become necessary 
of raising mounds to protect the cities fi-om the violence 
of the waters. It is not to be imagined that the natives, 
accustomed to the annual swelling of their river, would 
bmld their towns within the limits even of its greatest 
elevation. On the contrary, it is believed that they 
were wont to place them on artificial eminences, to 
guard against the inconvenience of the summer flood, 
and particularly to exempt fi-om its ravages their tem- 
ples and public monuments. But it is every where 
admitted, that some of the finest of tlicir ancient toAvns 




Protection of 
artificial em 

Bubastis and 

Cause of 
this annual 

of these. 

are at present under the level of the inundation, wlule 
the most laborious efFoiis have in other parts become 
indispensable to prevent, b}' embanking, the destruction 
of their sacred buildings. Mempliis, it is presumed, has 
been covered by the increasing soil, after having been 
abandoned by its inhabitants, who had found the use of 
mounds imavaUing. Bubastis, when about to fall a prey 
to the same destroyer, was rebuilt on higher ground ; 
but the beautiful temple, as it could not be removed, 
was left in its original position, and was accordingly 
looked doAvn upon from every part of the new city. 
Heliopolis, in like manner, as we are informed by Strabo, 
was erected upon an eminence : at present the land 
is elevated around it to such a degree that it appears 
situated in a plain, which, moreover, is inundated every 
year to the depth of six or eight feet.* 

This source of fertility to Egypt depends exclusively, 
as every reader knows, upon the periodical rains which 
drench the table-land of Abj^sshua and the mountainous 
country which stretches from it towards the south and 
west. The ancients, some of whom indeed entertained 
very absurd notions respecting this phenomenon, were 
generally in the right as to its physical cause, — express- 
ing then- belief that the annual overflow of the NUe was 
closely connected with the climate of Ethiopia, that 
receptacle of clouds and vapour. Plutarch states most 
distinctly, that the increase of the river is owing to the 
rains which fall there. Even the Arabs had arrived at 
the same conclusion long before any European found liis 
way into the country.i' More than seven hundred years 
ago, a failure in the inundation was announced to the 
farmers of Egj^t by a clerical envoy from the chief city 
of Ethiopia ; who, after havmg stated that the season in 
the hill country had been unusually dry, advised them 
to expect and prepare for the unwonted lo^vness of the 
NUe, which actually occurred. 

* Shan-, vol. ii. p. 229. 

♦ History of Egjrpt by Abdollatiph, quoted by Shaw, vol. ii. 
p. 215. 


It is impossible to find any where among terrestrial chap, ii 
objects a more striking instance of the stability of the stability of 
laws of nature than the periodical rise and fall of this the laws of 
mighty river. We know, by the testimony of the an- ^'^^^^ 
cients, that its inundations have been the same, with 
respect at least to their season and duration, for thou- 
sands of years ; which, as Humboldt remarks, is a proof 
well worthy of attention, that the mean state of humi- 
dity and temperature does not vary in that vast basin.* 
The rise of the water is so regular, that the inhabitants 
of Lower Egj'pt look for its arrival with the same de- 
gree of confidence as if the blessings Avhich it brings 
along with it depended upon causes within their own 

The value attached to this gift of nature is esteemed ifain fource 
so great as to be made the subject of political regulation, re\^nue° 
and the main source of public revenue. When it rises 
to sixteen cubits, the prosperity of the country and the 
wealth of the exchequer are secure. But, unfortunately, 
influenced by avaricious motives, the power of a despotic Deceptive 
government is employed to mislead their o^vn people in n°oJi*g^^ 
the first instance, and, through that channel, the more i-uiera. 
scientific nations of Europe, with regard to the actual 
height of the inundation. It has been suspected that 
the notices issued by the guardians of the Mekyas, or 
Nilometer, have a reference to the taxes which the ruler 
of Egypt intends to levy, rather than to the real increase 
of the fertilizing fluid from which they are to be derived. 
It was first suspected by Niebuhr, and afterwards fully 
ascertained by the French, that the number of cubits 
announced in the daily proclamation are not to be relied 
upon. The real state of the inundation is concealed for Evidences of 
political purposes ; and as a proof of this it is mentioned ^/nti'*^* 
by M. Girard, that, iu 1801, when the pubhc crier gave 
notice that the water had attained twenty-three cubits 
two inches, it stood in reality at only eighteen cubits. 
Hence the difficulty of obtaining an accurate statement 

• Personal Narrative, vol. iv. p. 372 


CHAP. II. on this head, and the impossibility of comparing with 
■ suitable exactness the fluctuations of tlie river in ancient 

and modern times. 
Natural Considering how much the inhabitants owe to the 

to™w^Wp ^^ile, it is not sui-prising that in i-ude ages they should 
the Nile. have been induced to make it an object of worship. 
Not only does it supersede the labour of the plough and 
the necessity of collecting manure, but it also supplies 
an abundance of that element which, every where most 
necessary to human existence, is to them at once a me- 
dicine and a luxury. The Egj'ptian, in shoi-t, like the 
Hindoo, finds his cliief solace in his beloved river. Its 
water is preferred to the most costly beverage ; he even 
creates an artificial thh-st, that he may enjoy the delight 
of quencliing it ; and, when languishing under disease, 
he looks forward to the approaching inundation as the 
season of renovated health and vigour. Nor is tliis pre- 
dilection to be ascribed to bigotry or ignorance, for we 
find that Europeans are equally loud in their eulogies 
on the agreeable and salubrious qualities of the Nile. 
Attraction of Giovanni Finati, for example, who was no stranger to 
the Nile. jj^g limpid streams of other lands, sighed for the oppor- 
tunity of returning to Caii-o, that he might once more 
drink its delicious water, and breathe its mild atmo- 
sphere. Maillet, too, a ■m-iter of good credit, remarks, 
that it is among waters what champagne is among wines. 
The Mussulmans themselves acknowledge that if their 
prophet Mohammed had tasted it, he would have sup- 
plicated Heaven for a terrestrial immortality that he 
might enjoy it for ever. 
Festival of The Copts, with the feeling natiu'al to Christians of 
the Copts, ^j^g Greek communion, have fixed on the 24th of Jime, 
the festival of St Jolm, as the day which afi^ords the 
first decisive token of the annual flood. Travellers, 
however, infonn us that, in ordinary years, it is not till 
the fii-st week in July the rise can be distinctly marked. 
At a much earlier part of the season, it is time, there is 
a temporary swell in the current, occasioned by partial 
rains which fall within the tropics soon after the vernal 


equinox ; though the real inundation does not com- chap. il. 
mence till the period already mentioned, and even then ^j. ^^ 
very imperceptibly. By the middle of August it has elevation of 
reached half its elevation, but it is not at the highest Hon!""'^^'*' 
till towards the last days of September. It then conti- 
nues stationary about two weeks, when it begins gra- 
dually to subside. By the 10th of November it has 
fallen one-half, from which period it diminishes very 
slowly till the 15 th or 16th of the following May, when 
it is understood to have reached its lowest ebb. During 
the increase, the water fii-st acquires a green colour, of 
rather a deep tint ; and, after thirty or forty days, tliis 
is succeeded by a bro\\Tiish red. These changes are 
probably owing to the augmentations it receives from 
different temporary lakes in succession, or from the 
rains wliich fall at various distances on the table-lands 
in the interior of Afi-ica. 

The mud of the Nile upon analysis gives nearly one- Niie mud. 
half of argillaceous earth, with about one-fourth of car- 
bonate of lime, the remainder consisting of water, oxide 
of iron, and carbonate of magnesia. On the very banks 
the slune is mixed with much sand, which it loses in 
proportion as it is carried farther from the river ; so that 
at a certaui distance it consists almost entirely of pure 
argil. This substance is employed in several arts among 
the Egyptians. It is formed into excellent bricks, as 
well as into a variety of vessels for domestic purposes, 
and is also used in the manufacture of tobacco-pipes. 
Glassmakers employ it in the constniction of their fur- 
naces, and the coimtry-people cover their houses with 
it. As it contains principles favourable to vegetation, 
the cultivators consider it a sufficient manure for such 
places as have not been saturated by the overflowing 

Although the river is almost without exception the Occasional 
minister of good to 'Egypt, there are yet cases in wliich 'J^,""*^ "* 
the excess of its waters has occasioned no small loss 
both of life and property. In September 1818, Belzoni 
witnessed a deplorable scene, owing to its having risen 






CHAP. II. three feet and a half above the highest mark left by the 
The Hood of former inundation. Ascending vdth. uncommon rapi- 
1S18. dity, it carried oflf several villages, and some liundreds 

of their inhabitants. Expecting an unusual rise, in 
consequence of the scarcity of water the preceding sea- 
son, the Arabs had had recourse to their wonted expe- 
dient of erecting fences of mud and reeds roimd the 
villages, to keep the water from their houses ; but in 
this instance the pressure of the flood baffled all their 
efforts. Their cottages, built of earth, could not stand 
one moment against the current, but were, as soon as 
the water touched them, levelled with the ground. The 
rapid stream carried oflF all that was before it ; and the 
inhabitants of all ages, with their com and cattle, were 
washed away in an instant. 

It was probably to prevent the occurrence of such 
catastrophes, as well as to turn to a beneficial purpose 
the superfluous waters of the Kile, that the Lake of 
Moeris, and other similar receptacles, were formed by 
the ancient kings of Egj'pt. Although the valley of 
Faj'oum supplied a natural basin for this grand reservoir, 
yet as the canal which connected it with the river, 
together with the numerous dams necessary to regulate 
the current during the rise and fall of the inundation, 
were the fruit of human labour, we shall postpone the 
description of it till we come to the -chapter on the "Works 
of Ancient Art. 

We have already remarked that Egj-pt is indebted 
for her rich harvests to the mould which is depo- 
sited by the stream during the annual flood. As soon as 
the waters retii-e the cultivation of the ground com- 
mences. If the soil has imbibed the requisite quantity 
of moisture, the process of agriculture is neither difficult 
tivatto^a "*^" ^^^ tedious. The seed is scattered over the soft surface, 
and vegetation, which almost immediately succeeds, 
goes on with gi-eat rapidity. Where the land has been 
only partially inundated recourse is had to irrigation, 
by means of which many species of vegetables are raised 
even during the dry season. Hal•^•est follows at the 

Source of 


distance of six or eight weeks, according to the different CHAP, li 
kinds of grain, — leaving time in most cases for a succes- gnccession of 
sion of crops wherever there is a full command of water, seasons. 
The cold season begins with December, and continues 
about two months. Spring appears in the first days of 
February, when the fruit-trees blossom, and the at- 
mosphere acquires a delightful warmth. The period 
of summer may be said to commence in June, and to 
end at the close of September, although the transition 
from the one season to the other is so gradual that it is 
impossible to define the exact limits of either. During Hot aea»on. 
these four months the heat is intense ; the fields to which 
the swelling river has not attained are parched like a 
desert, and no green thing is seen but such as are pro- 
duced by artificial irrigation. Autumn, which is only 
marked by a slight dimmution of temperature, com- 
mences about the middle of October, when the leaves 
fall, and the Nile retires witliin its channel ; and till 
the approach of that season which, from its relation to 
the rest of the year, must be called winter, the face of 
the country resembles a beautiful meadow diversified 
with lively colours. In this manner is realized the 
description of Volney, who observed that EgA'pt assumed 
in succession the appearances of an ocean of fresh water, 
of a miry morass, of a green level plain, and of a parched 
de.sert of sand and dust.* 

For various reasons, especially the want of trees and Average heat 
the low elevation of the whole plain from Rosetta to °fE^'3^pt. 
Assouan, the average degree of heat in Egypt is consider- 
ably greater than in many other countries situated in 
the same latitude. In summer, as long as the sun re- 
mains above the horizon, the atmosphere is inflamed, the 
sky is cloudless and sparkling, and the heat is rendered 
supportable only by the profuse perspiration which it 
excites. At Cairo, the medium temperature during that 
period has been estimated at ninety-two degrees of Fah- 
renlieit's thermometer. On some occasions it has been 

• Travels, vol. ii. p. 10. 


CHAP. II. known to rise as liigh as one hundi-ed and twelve de- 
yif^- Extreme gvees ; Imt such an intensity of heat is usually of short 
tempeiitare continuance, and ahnost never experienced except in the 

&t Cuiro 

more confined districts of the Said. At sunset the -ndnd 
falls, the air becomes cooler, and the vapour suspended in 
the atmosphere during the day is deposited in an abun- 
dant supply of dew. As the evening advances a thin mist 
darkens the horizon, and spreads over the watery grounds ; 
but during the night it becomes scarcely perceptible, and 
in the morning, when the sun has attained a certain ele- 
vation, it gradually ascends in the form of flaky clouds. 
Effects of The copious evaporation, wliich necessarily takes place 

evaporation, in a country distinguished one-half of the year by exces- 
sive heat and moisture, is hardly ever restored to the soil 
in the shape of rain. The clouds, it is true, sometimes 
collect in dark masses, and the atmosphere exhibits all 
the meteorological s}Tnptoms which in other climates 
indicate a copious shower ; but such a phenomenon is 
Absence of '^"ery rare in Eg^-pt. When it does occur, the fall con- 
rain, tinues only a fcAv minutes, and seems counteracted by 
some affinities, chemical or electrical, too powerful to be 
overcome by the ordinary principle of gravity. In the 
Delta rain is occasionally seen during the cool part of the 
year ; but above Cairo it is seldom or never witnessed at 
Thunder and ^^Y season. Thunder and lightning are still more infre- 
ligiitning. quent, and are, at the same time, so completely divested 
of theii" terrific qualities, that the Egj^tians never asso- 
ciate "with them the idea of destructive force, and are 
quite unable to comprehend how they should ever be 
u-ij, accompanied with either fear or injury. Storms of hail 
descending from the hills of Syria, and sweeping along 
the plains of Palestine, are sometimes kno'mi to reach 
the confines of Egj^t. But the production of ice is so 
extremely uncommon, that on one occasion, when it ap- 
peared in the low country, the Ai'abs collected it witli 
the greatest care, and sold it at a high price to the Eu- 
ropean merchants of Alexandria. 

The course of the wind, so variable in our climate, is 
almost strictly periodical on the banks of the NOe. In 


point botli of strength and duration, the northerly breezes chap. n. 
predcminate, — blowing nearly nine months in the year. peri(^ai 
They continue with little intermission from Jlay till wiuds. 
September ; but about the autunmal equinox they veer 
round to the east, where they remain nearly six weeks 
with only slight deviations. About the end of February 
the gale assumes a southerly du-ection, and fluctuates 
exceedingly till the close of April, when it again yields for 
a time to a more powerful cui-rent fi-om the eastward. 

The southerly winds are the most changeable as well SontheriT 
as the most unhealthy ; for it is after traversing the arid ^^°'^'- 
sands of Africa, uninterrupted by rivers, lakes, or forests, 
that they arrive in Egypt fraught with all the noxious 
exhalations of the desert. At their approach the serene 
sky becomes black and heavy ; the sun loses its splen- 
dour, appealing of a dim violet hue ; and a light warm 
breeze is felt, which gradually increases in heat till it 
almost equals that of an oven. Though no vapour Dcstmctiva 
darkens the air, it becomes so gray and thick with the "^'^^^^^ 
floating clouds of impalpable sand that it is sometimes 
necessary to use candles at noonday. Every green leaf 
is instantly shrivelled, and every thing formed of wood 
is warped and cracked. The eff'ect of these winds 
on the anunal creation, too, is not less pernicious ; some- 
times even occasioning immediate death by sudden squalls 
which attack the victun before he is aware. The breath- 
ing becomes quick and difficult, the pores of the skin are 
closed, and a feverish habit is induced owing to suppres- 
sed perspiration. The incre;ising heat pei-\'ades every 
substance ; and water itself, no longer cool, is rendered 
incapable of mitigating the intolerable sensation by 
which the whole body is oppressed. Dead sUence reigns Appearance 
in the streets ; for the inhabitants confine themselves to °* "^® '°^*'°° 
their liouses, in the vam attempt to elude the showers of 
a dust so fine and penetrating that, according to the ^ 
oriental expression, it wUl enter an egg through the 
pores of the shell.* 

* Amis' Observations on Egypt. Volney's Travels, toI. ii. p. 61. 
Dr Leyden on Eg)pt, in IMurray's Africa 


CHAP. n. These are the hot winds of the desert, tenned by the 

The simoom -A-fabs simooni, And by the Turks samiel, and which have 

so often proved fatal to whole caravans, and even to large 

armies. When they continue longer than three days 

their effects become quite insupportable, especially to 

persons of a full habit of body. It is remarkal)le at the 

same time, that the southerly breeze, which in the spring 

of the year is attended with an intolerable heat, is during 

the winter noted above all others for an intense and 

penetrating cold. In the latter season the rays of the 

sun fall more obUquely on the desert, and the current of 

air which descends on Egj^t is chilled by the snowy 

mountains of Abyssinia. 

Novelty of Such are the principal phenomena which characterize 
atmosphenc , ,. pt-i , . • ,i i -l 

ohanges. the climate ot Jbgypt, — a country m the very atmosphere 

of which nature seems to have adopted new and singular 
arrangements. In that region, distinguished by an un- 
common regularity of the seasons and of all the changes 
which the atmosphere presents, these meteorological facts 
were first ascertained with scientific acciu'ac}'. But though 
the observations of the ancient sages of Thebes and Mem- 
phis, engi'aven on immense masses of granite, have defied 
the ravages of time and the stUl more destructive hand 
of man, we can only view the characters with regret, and 
lament that a wise and learned people may utterly perish 
before the monuments of their power and science have 
entirely passed away. 
Snb-division Egypt is usually divided into Upper and Lower ; the 
^^ latitude of Cairo presenting in our day the line of de- 
marcation. But besides tliis distinction there is another 
of great antiquity, to wliich frequent allusion is made by 
the Greek and Roman authors, namely, that of the Delta, 
the Heptanomis, and the Thebaid. Accord big to this 
distribution, the fii'st of the provinces just mentioned 
occupied the coast of the]Mediterranean ; the thu'dwas the 
narrow valley of Upper Egypt ; whUe to the second was 
allotted the intennediate spate, which seems to have been 
divided into seven districts or cantons. At a later pei-iod, 
when Egj'jit became subject to the Romans, the Arcadia 


of that people corresponded nearly to the ancient Hepta- chap, il 

nomis ; and, about the conclusion of the fourth century, Laterdivi- 

the eastern division of the Delta, between Arabia and the sions. 

Phatnitic branch of the Nile as high as Heliopolis, was 

erected into a new province under the name of AugTis- j4|. 

tamnica. In modern times the Arabs have changed the 

classical appellation of Thebaid into Said, or the high 

country ; the Heptanomis into Vostani ; and the Delta 

into Bahari, or the maritime district. 

The following table exhibits a succinct view of the ter- "^.^^J*""?^ 
ritonal distribution of Egypt as recognised by modem geo- of Egj-pt. 
graphers, and the actual government of the country : — 


1. Province of Thebes. 

2. Djirgeh. 

3. Siout. 


1. Province of Fayoum. 

2. Beni Souef. 

3. Minieh. 


1. Province of Bahireh, ^s 

2. Rosetta. 

3. Damietta. 

4. Ghai-biyeh. 

6. Menouf. 

6. Mansoura. 

7. Sharkeyeh. 

Tlie frequent alteration of terms by nations using dif- Alteration 
ferent languages, has produced considerable obscurity in °^ ^^^^^ 
geographical details, as well as a most inconvenient 
variety in the spelling of proper names. The towns which 
flourished during the different periods of the Persian, 
Grecian, Roman, and Saracenic d\Tiasties, were not only 
erected on the sites of more ancient edifices, but, under 
the Turkish and Mamlouk domination, their positions 
have been partially changed ; and thus, splendid cities, 
celebrated in history, liave been buried in their own 


CHAP. II ruins, and the traveller searches for them in vain even 
Greatnatura "within the circuit of their ancient walls, 
changes. Nor is this vicissitude confined to the works of human 

art. Even the great lineaments of nature undergo a 
gradual change, and thereby render the descriptions of 
early authors almost unintelligible to the modern travel- 
ler. The mouths of the Nile, for example, have often 
deserted their channels, and the river has entered the sea 
Esmaries of at different points. The seven estuaries known to the 
*^® ^ ancients, were, — 1. The Canopic mouth, corresponding 
to the present outlet from the Lake Etko, or, according 
to others, that of the Lake of Aboukir or Maadee ; but 
it is probable that, at one time, it had a communication 
with the sea at both these places. 2. The Bolbitine 
mouth at Rosetta. 3. The Sebenitic, probably the open- 
ing into the present Lake Burlos. 4. The Phatnitic or 
Bucolic at Damietta. 5. The Mendesian, which is lost 
in the Lake ]\Ienzaleh, the mouth of which is represented 
by that of Debeh, 6. The Tanitic or Saitic, which seems 
to have left some traces of its temiination eastward of the 
Lake Menzaleh, under the modem appellation of Om- 
Faridje. The branch of the Nile which conveyed its 
waters to the sea, corresponds to the canal of Moez, 
which now loses itself in the lake. 7. The Pelusiac, 
which seems to be represented by what is now the most 
easterly mouth of Lake INIenzaleh, where the ruins of 
Pelusium are still visible.'"' 
Clianses on Of these communications with the sea, the Nile, it is 
* ® ° well known, retains at the present day only the second 

and the fourth, — the others having been long choked up 
with mud, or with the earth which falls fi-om the crumb- 
ling banks. The cultivation of the Delta has been con- 
tracted in a similar proportion ; for in Egj'pt, wherever 
the water of the river is withheld, the desert extends or 
resumes its dominion, covering the finest fields with 
barren sand and useless slirubs. 

* Malte-Bmn, vol. iv. p. 23. Mem. sur I'Egypte, vol. i. p. 165. 
Mem. sur les Bouches du Nil, par Dubois- .\jTne. 


Our description of the physical aspect of this singular chap, il 
country would not be complete did we fail to mention y „ — . 
the Valley of the Natron Lakes, and that of the Water- Natron 
less River. In the former of these there is a series of sLx ^^'^^• 
basins bounded on the one side by a lofty ridge of secon- 
dary rocks, which perhaps proves the means of concen- 
trating the saline deposite which has given celebrity to 
the place. The banks and the waters are covered with 
crj'stallizations, consisting of muriate of soda or sea-salt. 
and of natron or carbonate of soda. When a volume of 
water contains both these salts, the muriate is the first to 
crystallize, and the carbonate is afterwards deposited in 
a separate layer. But, in some instances, the two crys- 
tallizations are observed to choose, without any assign- 
able cause, distinct localities in different parts of the 
same lake. 

The Waterless River, called by the Arabs Bahr bela Waterless 
Maieh, presents itself in a valley Avhich runs parallel to R''*'*^'"- 
the one just described, and is separated from it only by 
a line of slightly elevated ground. It has been traced 
from the neighbourhood of the Mediterranean, through 
the desert country that stretches to the westward of 
Fayoum. In the sand with which its channel is every 
where covered, trunks of trees have been found in a state 
of complete petrifaction, and also the vertebral bone of 
large fish. Jasper, quartz, and petrosUex, have likewise Minerals. 
been observed scattered over the surface ; and hence 
some learned persons have thought that these fragments 
of rock, which do not belong to the contiguous hills, have 
been conveyed thither by a branch of the NUe, which, it 
is more than probable, once passed in tliis direction, and 
discharged itself into the sea at some distance to the 
westward of Alexandria. But this question, wliich be- 
longs more properly to a subsequent part of our volume, 
will be discussed at some length in connexion with the 
opinions of those writers who have most recently examin- 
ed the borders of Lake Moeris.* 

* Belzoni, vol. ii. p. 183. Denon, vol. i. p. 224. 



Civil History of Ancient Egypt. 

Obscurity of Egyptian Annals — Variety of Hypotheses relative to 
the Origin of the ]\Ionarchy — Reign of Menes determined ; His 
Actions ; Chronological Tables illustrative of this Subject — Inva- 
sion of the Shepherds — Reference to Manetho — His mistake and 
that of Josephus as to the IsraeUtes — Hatred of Shepherds 
entertained by the Egyptians in Time of Joseph — The Reign of 
Mceris— Accession of Sesostris ; His Exploits ; Proofs of his 
warlike Expedition ; the Magnificence of his Buildings ; His 
Epitaph — Invasion by Sabaco the Ethiopian or Abyssinian — By 
Sennacherib — By Nebuchadnezzar — By Cyrus — And complete 
Subjugation by Cambyses — The Persian Government — Conquest 
of Egypt by Alexander the Great — Ancient Dynasties — The 
Ptolemies — The Romans — The Saracens. 

CHAP. ni. It is our intention iii this chapter to give an outline of 
SuliiectT Eg}^tian histon^ from the earliest times down to the 
accession of the Saracenic princes, — an epoch at which 
the power and splendour of the more ancient govern- 
ments were oppressed by a weight of barbarism wliich 
has not yet been removed. 
Obscurity of With regard to this mteresting subject, we may con- 
^™yj° fidently assert that there is no portion of the remoter 
annals of the human race more obscure, owmg to the 
want of authentic records, or more perplexed by ground- 
less conjecture and bold speculation. He who begins 
his inquiries with the establishment of the Eg}-ptian 
monarch}', and proposes to sail down the stream of tune 
accompanied and guided by the old liistorians, soon dis- 

ANCIENT EGV i»r. 61 

covers the numerous obstacles which must impede his CHAP. ni. 
course. The ancient authoi's from wliom he seeks in- Deficiencies 
formation, require of him to carry back his imagination of ancient 
to an era many thousand years prior to the existence of 
all written deeds ; and they then gravely introduce him 
to the gods and demigods who had once condescended 
to dwell on the banks of the Nile, and to govern the 
fancied inhabitants of that fertile region. 

But, to a certain extent at Icabt, the historj' of ancient vaiue of 
Egj-pt can be placed on more credible grounds, and even Egyptian 
be rendered useful for throwmg light upon the condition 
of contemporary kingdoms. We must at once relin- 
quish the regal gods and the thirty-six thousand years 
of their government, as only the indication perhaps of 
some physical principle, or, more probably, the expres- 
sion of a vast astronomical cycle. The Sun, Jloon, and 
other leaders of the celestial host, may, according to the 
ancient mythology, be supposed to have ruled over 
Egypt before it became fit for the habitation of mortals ; 
or the authors of this hypothesis may be thought to have 
had nothing more serious in view than the gratification 
of their fancy in the wilds of that terra incognita, which, 
in every quarter of the globe, stretches far beyond the 
boundaries of authentic record. 

As the reign of Menes marks the limits of legiti- EraofMenei 
mate inquiry in this interesting field, and as aU correct 
notions of Egj'ptian chronology must rest upon the 
determination of the period at which that monarch 
exercised the supreme power, we shall lay before our 
readers an abridged view of such opinions on this sub- 
ject as seem the most worthy of their attention. Here, 
we need not add, we must confine ourselves to mere Limiti^ of oui 
results ; it being quite inconsistent both with our limits 
and our object to enter into the learned arguments by 
which different authors have laboured to fortify their 
conclusions. But to those readers who are desu-ous of 
entering more deeply into the question, we earnestly 
recommend the works of Hales and Prichard, the 
latest and unquestionably the ablest writers on this 



of tradition. 

CHAP. IIL obscure though very impoiiant branch of historical 

Priml^e inquiry. 

chronology. Menes, then, began his reign, 

' Accordinfit to Dr Hailes, 2412 years B. c. 

t ."...., Old Chronicle, -2231 

+ Eratosthenes, 2220 

§ Eusebius 2258 ^ „r ooro 

II Julius Africanus,.... 2216 ^ or ^jo- 

S Dr Prichai-d, 2214 

As the actions of tliis monarch were conveyed to 
posterity through the uncertain channel of tradition, 
little reliance can be placed on the accuracy of the 
details. Herodotus informs us that he protected from 
the inundations of the Nile the ground upon -which 
Memphis was afterwards erected. Before his age the 
river flowed close under the ridge of hills wliich border 
the Libyan desert, whence, as already stated, it is more 
than probable that a large branch of it made its way 
through the valley of Fayoum into the Mediterranean. 
To prevent this deviation, he erected a mound about 
twelve miles south from the future capital of Egypt ; 
turned the course of the stream towards the Delta ; and 
led it to the sea at an equal distance from the elevated 
land by wliich on either side the country is bounded. 
Menes is moreover said to have been a great general ; to 
have made warlike expeditions into foreign countries ; 
and to have fallen a prey at last to the voracity of a liip- 

Among the principal authorities on which the reign 
^^t!,™!?* "^ of this sovereign has been determined is the following 
statement of Josephus, who had better means of becom- 
ing acquainted with the works of Manetho than were 
enjoyed by Syncellus, Africanus, or Eusebius. He 
assures us that Menes lived man}" years before Abraham, 


clianges on 
the Nile. 


' New Analysis of Ancient Chronology, vol. iv. p. 418. 

t Ibid. vol. iv. p. 407. 

♦ Prichard's Egyptian Antiquities. 

§ New Analysis, vol iv. p. 417. II Ibid. 

' Egyptian Antiquities, p. 91. 


and that he ruled more than 1300 years prior to the age chap, iil 
of Solomon.* Now the Father of the Faithful was bom qj^ :^^ 
2153, and the son of David ascended the throne of Israel ment chro- 
1030 years before the Christian era. These facts, com- °° °^" 
bined with the account given in the Old Chronicle of 
the d^Tiasty of kings wliich proceeded fi-om Misraim or 
]\Iisor, seem to justify the conclusions of modern chro- 

The Greek historian farther mentions, that the priests The succes- 
recited to him, from books, three hundred and thirty si°°of^ene. 
sovereigns, successors of Menes ; among whom were 
eighteen Ethiopian princes and one queen called Nito- 
cris. But as none of these monarchs were distinguished 
by any acts of magnificence or renown, he abstains from 
encumbering his pages with the unmeaning catalogue of 
their appellations and titles. He makes one exception 
in favour of Moeris, famed for the excavation of the lake 
that still bears his name, and which continues to be re- 
garded as one of the wonders of his ancient dominions. 

To assist the recollection of the reader on this rather Analysis of 
intricate subject, we shall abridge from the New Ana- ^ "° °^^' 
jysis of Chronology, a list of the kings who fill up the 
space between the accession of the first human monarch 
of Egypt and the death of jMoerls : — 


Y. B. C. 

Menes and his successors, ending with Timaus, 253 — 2412 


1. Salatis, Silites, or Nirmaryada, 19 — 2159 

2. Baion, Byon, or Babya 44 — 2140 

3. Apachnes, Pachman, or Ruchma, 37 — 2096 

First Pyramid begun about 2095 

Abraham visits Egypt about 2077 

4. Apophes, 61—2059 

5. Janias or Sethos 50—1998 

6. Assis or Aseth, 49—1948 

Expulsion of the Shepherds 260 — 1899 

• Jud. Antiq. lib. viii. 



CHAP, ni 

of Egyptian 


Y. B. C. 

Alisphragtnuthosis, &c., 27—1899 

Joseph appointed Governor or Regent, il — 1872 

Jacob's Family settle in Goshen, 215 — 1863 

Death of Joseph —1792 

Queen Nitocns, — 1742 

Exode of the Israelites, 231 — 1648 


Amosis. Tethmosis, or Thummosis, 25 — 1648 

Chebron, 13—1623 

Amenophis I., 20—1610 

Amesses, 21—1389 

Mephres, 12—1367 

Misphragmuthosis, 23 — 1554 

Thmosis or Tethmosis, 9—1328 

Amenophis II., 30—1518 

Orus or Horus, 36—1488 

Acenchris, 12 — 1452 

Rathosis, 9—1440 

Aeencheres 1., 12—1431 

Acencheresll., 20_1418 

Armais of Harmais, 4 — 1398 

Harnesses 1 — 1394 

Harmesses,. 66—1393 

Amenophis III. or Moeris, 19 — 1327 

Death of Moeris, 340-1308' 

Invasion by The most interesting event that occurred during this 
herdi*^^" long interval was the invasion of Egj-pt by the Shep- 
herds, which, according to the chronology we have here 
adopted, took place two thousand one hundred and fifty- 
nine years before the birth of Christ. i\Ianetho, the 
Narrative of historian already mentioned, has inserted in his work a 
Jianetho. ^^j.^ intelligible notice of the misfortune wliich befell 
his country at that early period ; the accuracy of which 
cannot be called in question, except in the point where 
he is supposed to identify the savage invaders from the 
East with the peaceful family of Jacob who were invited 
to settle in the Land of Goshen. The hostile spirit 

* Vol. ii. p. 418. We iiave omitted the odd montlis. 


entertained by the Egyptians against their barbarian CHAP. IIL 
conquerors continued unabated in the age of the pa- Egyptian 
triarch Joseph, when shepherds were still held as an hatred of 
" abomination," — a fact which of itself goes far to prove 
that the celebrated inroad of the Pastoral Ivings must 
have taken place before this favourite son of Jacob was 
carried as a slave into the house of Potiphar. 

Passing over Moeris, whose peaceful labours wUl be Sesostris. 
described hereafter, we arrive at the era of his renowned 
son, the accomplished and victorious Sesostris. In the 
history of this prince fiction has exhausted all her powers 
to darken and exaggerate ; and the little light which 
might have remained to guide \is to the appreciation of 
facts has been greatly obscured by the clouds of chro- 
nological error, which from time to time have spread 
over his reign. 

Diodorus is our principal authority for the warlike His warlike 

achievements of this celebrated monarch. His first ex- ^ciueve- 

. meuts. 

pedition aiter he came to the throne was agamst the 

Abyssinians, whom he reduced to the condition of tribu- 
taries. He then turned his arms against the nations who 
dwelt on either shore of the Red Sea, advanced along the 
Persian Gulf, and finally, if we may trust to the accuracy 
of this historian, marched at the head of his troops into 
India, and even crossed the Ganges. Directing liis face 
towards Upper Asia, he next subdued the Assyrians and 
Medes ; whence, passing to the confines of Europe, he Defeated by 
ravaged the territory of the Scythians, untU he sustained '^'^'"^^ 
a reverse at the hands of Thnaus, their valiant prince, on 
the banks of the Phasis. Want of provisions, and the 
impenetrable nature of the country which defended the 
approaches to ancient Thrace, compelled him to re- 
linquish his European campaign. He accordingly return- 
ed to Egypt in 1299 b. c, being the ninth year of his 
military enterprise. 

Making due allowance for the exaggeration which Trastwortiii- 
never fails to mark the absence of authentic records, we JJ^^to^^^ 
are disposed to maintain that the history of Sesostris can- 
not be wholly reduced to fiction, nor ascribed entirely to 


Evidence of 
and Strabo. 


the mj'thological wanderings either of Bacchus or Osiris. 
We are assured, on the personal evidence of Herodotus 
and Strabo, that the pillars erected by the Egyptian leader 
stUl remained in their days, and even that they had ac- 
tually inspected such of them as were in Sjaia, Palestine, 
Arabia, and Ethiopia. The inscription wliich these proud 
monuments every where bore was to thefollowrng effect : — 

" Sesostris, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, subdued this 
country by his arms." 

Colonization Another circumstance corroborative of the general accu- 
of Colchis. j.^y ^^ ^YiQ old annalists is, the establishment of an Egyp- 
tian colony in the province of Colchis. The descendants 
of this military association, presenting the dark com- 
plexion and woolly hair of Africa, were long distingmsh- 
able from the natives of the district among whom they 
dwelt. Nay, it is possible, we believe, at the present 
day, to find among the Circassians certain families whose 
blood might be traced to the soldiers of Sesostris, and 
whose features stiU verify the traditional affinity which 
connects them with the ancient inhabitants of the valley 
watered by the Nile. 
Popular It is usual, in all countries, to find the fame of a popu- 

s^t*i^° ° l^J" monarch increased, not only by having ascribed to 
him all the heroic deeds which have been transmitted 
by the chroniclers of the olden time, but also by beuig 
regarded in the eyes of the multitude as the founder 
of all the magnificent palaces and gorgeous temples of 
which any remains can be traced. On this account it is 
not improbable that Sesostris, imder the several names or 
titles of Osymandias, Ramesses, Sethosis, and Sethon, has 
had attributed to him the merit of erecting several splen- 
did edifices which are due to sovereigns of a less impos- 
Buiidinp at jng celebrity. At aU events, it is not doubted by any one 
Thebes. that both Menipliis and Thebes owed some of their finest 
structures to the conqueror of Asia ; and it is even record- 
ed by his panegyrists, that the riches and the immense 
number of prisoners which crowned liis successes in the 
Eixst, enabled him to decorate all the towns of Egypt 


without exacting from his native subjects any portion of chap, iil 
their labour or income. Memphis, the new capital, was Adornment 
enlarged and ornamented with the most profuse expen- ofiiempaii 
diture. The statues, the temples, and the obelisks, which 
adorned it, are described by historians in their most 
pompous language ; but the infelicity of its situation, 
which exposed it to the inundations of the NUe, has so its total 
completely obliterated all traces of its existence as to have ^destruction. 
created a question among antiquaries as to the precise 
spot on which it stood. Thebes, on the contrary, which 
enjoyed a more secure position, and was perhaps built of 
more lasting materials, displays at the present day the 
magnificence of her princes, combined with the learning 
and taste which distinguished her inhabitants. 

Tlie Palace, or Sepulchral Temple (for the ruins of paiace. 
the two have been confounded), appears to have been an 
edifice of exquisite workmanship as well as of vast extent. 
In front there was a court of immense size ; adjoining 
which arose a fine portico four hundi-ed feet long, the 
roof of which was supported by figures fifteen cubits in 
height. This led into another court similar to the fii-st, 
but still more superb, and adorned with statues of great 
magnitude, which are said to have represented the king 
and certain members of his family. Amidst a numerous Decorations, 
succession of halls and galleries, the chisel had sculptured 
with wonderful art the triumphs of the sovereign, the 
sacrifices which he had offered, the administration of 
justice in his courts of law, and such other functions as 
were appropriated to the head of a great nation. But the 
tomb, properly so called, is especially remarkable for the 
astronomical emblems which it exhibits. It is encom- Astronomical 
passed with a golden circle three hundred and sixty-five emblem*, 
cubits in circumference, to represent the number of days 
comprehended in the year. The rising and setting of the 
stars are likewise depicted with considerable accuracy, 
and show that great attention was already paid to the 
motions and periods of the heavenly bodies. Thus it is 
rendered manifest that, whatever doubt may exist as to 
the identity of Sesostris and OsjTnandias, or in regard to 
the period at which one or other ascended the throne, the 



Early Im- 
of the arid. 

Statiie 0/ 

CHAP .IIL light of civilisation and the improvement of the ai-ts liad 
made great progress in Upper Egypt more than tliirteen 
centuries before the Christian era. The statue of tlie 
monarch himself, represented in a sitting posture, was 
considered by the ancients as the largest in the country. 
The foot alone was seven cubits in length ; and the fol- 
lowing epitaph appropriated this gigantic work of ai-t to 
the renowned commander whose name it was meant to 
perpetuate : — 

' I am Osymandias, King of Kings ; if any one desires to know 
what a prince I am, and where 1 lie, let him excel my exploits." 

iTndistin. The successors of this great ruler, for several genera- 

guished ci.a- tions, did not perform any remarkable action, nor allow 
successors, their ambitious \dews to extend beyond the limits of their 
native kingdom. Perhaps it might be said that the 
power of Egypt was not more than sufficient to defend 
her own borders against the erratic hordes who constantly 
threatened her on the east, and the more regular arma- 
ments of Abyssinia, which occasionally made an inroad 
from the south. About 770 b. c. Sabaco the Ethiopian 
descended the Nile, and drove Anj'sis from the throne. 
Sixty years later, Sennacherib, king of Assj-ria, meditated 
the conquest of the same country, and had actually en- 
tered its territories, when his immense host was destroy- 
ed by a Di\Tne Aositation. 

Disgusted with the weakness or misfortune of theii" 
sovereigns, the Egj'ptians made the experiment of an 
oligarchy of twelve governors, who directed the admini- 
stration about fifteen years. But, in 619 b. c, Pharaoh 
Necho was elevated to an undivided throne. His reign is 
remarkable for the success he obtained against Jenisalem, 
which he took, and against the good prince Josiah, whom 
he slew. He made several attempts to connect, for the pur- 
poses of commerce, the Nile with the Red Sea ; and after- 
wards accomplished what must have been then esteemed 
the still more arduous enterprise of circumna^^gating Afri- 
ca, from the Strait of Bab-el-mandeb to the Mediterranean. 
Ass>Tia. About this period the AssjTian monarchy, wliich had 

acquired an ascendant overall the neighbouring nations, 




from the Euphrates to the shores of the Great Sea, be- CHAP. ill. 
came formidable also to Egypt. Nebuchadnezzar on Nebuciiad- 
more than one occasion made the weight of his power to "e^zar. 
be felt on the banks of the Nile ; but the conquest of the 
whole of that country was reserved for the great Cyrus, 
who marshalled under his standard nearly all the states 
of Western Asia. It appears, however, that the liberal Liberality of 
policy of this famed warrior restored to the Eg}'3)tians, ^ 
as well as to the Jews, a certain degree of national inde- 
pendence, — a boon which the former were thought to 
have abused so much that one of the first measures 
adopted by his successor had for its object their entire 
and permanent subjugation. 

The effects produced upon Eg\^t by the victories of Victories of 
Cambyses are too important to be omitted. It should Cambyses. 
seem that the way was paved for him by the treachery 
of two great officers, who sought revenge for a personal 
insult by throwing open the kingdom to a foreign enemy. 
When, however, the Persian monarch appeared before 
Pelusium, he found that preparations had been made for 
a vigorous resistance ; upon which, availing himself of 
the miserable superstition of the garrison, he placed their 
sacred animals in front of his army, and advanced to the 
attack. The city surrendered without opposition. A 
general engagement, which ensued immediately after- capture of 
wards, terminated in the total discomfiture of Psammeni- ii^mphis. 
tus and the reduction of Memphis. The conqueror dis- 
graced his triumph by the most wanton cruelties, and 
particularly by putting to death the son of the king, to- 
gether with two thousand individuals of high rank. He 
also gave vent to his rage against the priests and religion 
of the country, urged by the suspicion that they were 
employed to undermine his authority. Regardless of Contempt for 
public opinion, he gave orders to slay the bull Apis, an „l^,^ 
object of the utmost veneration among all classes ; and, 
because the magistrates and guardians of the temple in- 
terposed to prevent this horrible sacrilege, he slew the 
one and scourged the other. A similar feeling dictated 
the mad attempt to seize the consecrated fane of Jupiter 
Ammon, situated in the Greater Oasis. The loss of half 


CHAP. IIL jiJ3 army, the disaffection of the remainder, and the uni- 
liis reverses, versal hatred of his new subjects, compelled him to re- 
turn home, where he soon afterwards became the victim 
of accident or of conspiracy. 
Alexander fhe Persian government, interrupted only by a series 
of unsuccessful revolts, was maintained in Egj'pt during 
more than two hundred years ; at the end of which 
Alexander the Great, who subsequently \ATested from 
the hands of Darius the sceptre of the empire itself, took 
possession of the kingdom of the Pharaohs, now one of 
its remotest provinces. 
Later Before we proceed to the history of the Grecian rulers, we 

dra^stiei ^^^ present a tabular view of the several dynasties from 
the death of Mceris to the accession of the first Ptolemy. 


Y. B. C. 

1. Sethos, Sesostris, or Osymandias, 33 — 1308 

2. Rampses or Pheron,. 61 — 1275 

3. Cetes, Proteus, or Harnesses, 50 — 1214 

4. AmenophisIV., 40—1164 

5. Rampsinites,, 42 — 1124 

6. Cheops or Chemmis, 50 — 1082 

7. Cephrenes, Cephres, or Sesah, 56 — 1032 

8. Mycerinus or Cherinus, 10 — 976 

His death, 342— 966 


A chasm, 151— 966 

1. Bocchoris or Asychis, 44 — 815 

2. Anysis, 2— 771 

3. Sabacon or So, > 60 — 769 

Anysis again, J 6 — 719 

4. Sebecon or Sethos, 40 — 713 

Sennacherib invades Egj'pt, — 711 

End of the period, 293— 673 


1. Twelve contemporary Kings, 15 — 673 

2. Psammeticus 1., 39 — 658 

3. Nekus or Pharaoh Necho, 16 — 619 

4. Psammis, 6 — 603 

5. Apries or Pharaoh Hophra, 28 — 597 

6. Amasis, — 44 — 569 

Cyrus conquers Egypt, — 535 

7. Psammenitus. First Revolt of Egypt (6 mo.) — 525 






T. B. C. P«"^ 

1. Cambyses reduces Egypt, 7 oo -9- ynasty. 

First Persian Administration, ^ 

2. Darius Hystaspes. Second Revolt of Egypt, 3 — 487 

3. Xerxes reduces Egypt, > _ 24 484 

Second Persian Adininistration, ^ 

4. Artaxerses Longimanus. Third Revolt, 4 — 460 

Reduces Egypt, ... \ 43—456 

Third Persian Administration, j 

Herodotus visits Egypt, — 448 

5. Darius Nothus. Fourth Revolt, 112—413 


1. Amyrtaeus, 6 — 413 

2. Pausiris, 6—407 

3. Psammeticus II., 6 — 401 

4. Nephereus, 6—395 

5. Acoris, 14—389 

6. Psectanebus 12 — 375 

7. Tachus or Tacos, 2 — 303 

8. Nectanebus 11 — 361 

Ochus reduces Egypt, 1 jo n-n 

Fourth Persian Administration, \ 

Alexander conquers Egypt, 81—332 

Upon the division of the Persian empire, Egj'pt fell to Ptolemy 
Ptolemy Lagns, one of Alexander's generals, who, when **^^' 
he ascended the throne, assumed the cognomen of Soter. 
Our limits will not permit us to describe at length the 
character of this prince, nor to set forth the numerous 
obligations which pliilosophy and literature continue to 
bear to his memory. The establishment of the celebrated Establish. 
Alexandrian Libraiy, and the patronage he confen-ed Alexandrian 
upon men of lettere, are too well kno\\ai to require illus- Library. 
tration ; and perhaps the royal munificence which he 
displayed in providing so splendid an asylum for learn- 
ing was more than equalled by liis discrimination in the 
choice of individuals fitted to preside over its interests 
and to promote its progress. Whilst inviting to his court 
and placing in his schools those characters who were the 
most distinguished of the age for their scientific acquire- 
ments, Ptolemy showed himself the greatest philosopher 




Geniits of 

Accession of 



Public works. 


that adorned Alexandria. To the knowledge of books 
he joined the more valuable knowledge of men and of 
business ; and was thereby qualified to dii-ect the pur- 
suits of science to practicable objects, as well as to with- 
draw the speculations of the learned from the insane 
metaphysics m which they were wont to indulge, in 
order to engage them in the more profitable studies of 
criticism, history, geometry, and medicine. The coun- 
tenance shown to Demetrius Phalereus, and the employ- 
ment to which he turned his accomplished mind, reflect 
greater honour upon the memory of Soter than all the 
magnificence of the Serapeion, or even the patriotic views 
contemplated in the sti-ucture of the Pharos. 

His son Philadelphus succeeded to an inheritance of 
great honour, but of much anxiety ; for, being raised 
to the throne in place of his eldest brother Keraunus, 
he was long exposed to the fear of domestic treason and 
of foreign war. But a reign of tliirty-eight years ena- 
bled him to consolidate his power, and even to purchase 
the gratitude of his subjects, by executing many public 
works of great utility. He conveyed the waters of the 
Nile into the deserts of Libya, completed the lighthouse 
at the harbour of Alexandria, and laboured to improve 
the navigable canals which connected his capital with 
the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. The only stain 
upon his administration was the pitiful revenge inflicted 
on the librarian Demetrius, for having advised the former 
kuig to allow the succession to proceed in the natural 
course, and to settle the crown on his first-born son. 

The third Ptolemy found it necessary to begin his 
reign with a Syrian war, which, in his own time, pro- 
duced no memorable results, though, it would appeal', 
it opened up to his successor a path to renown as a 
conqueror in the East. The latter is said not only to 
have chastised the insolence of Seleucus, and extended 
his conquests beyond the Euphrates, but even to have 
caiTied his arms to the confines of Bactria, Among the 
spoils which Euergetes, — the title bestowed upon him 
by his people, — acquired in the course of his victories, 


was a prodigious number of statues, images of gold and chap. lu 
silver, and other instruments of worship, which Cam- 
byses had carried away from the palaces and temples of 

It was in the year 221 before our era that Ptolemy ptoiemy 
Philopater mounted the throne of his father in the due Piiiiopater. 
course of succession. In his reign the Syrians recovered 
the provinces which the more fortunate arms of his 
predecessor had added to the Egyptian territory- ; the 
Jews were inliumanly persecuted ; and the general 
affairs of the kingdom fell into confusion and disorder. 
A slave to his passions, and addicted to cruelty, he sunk 
under a ruined constitution at the early age of thirty- 

The minority which followed was of considerable Minority of 
importance, inasmuch as it proved the occasion of intro- Pt<?'eniy 
ducing formally into Egj'pt the poweiful influence of 
the Roman government. As Ptolemy Epiphanes was 
only five years old at the death of his father, the kings 
of Syria and Macedon determined to dismember and 
divide his dominions ; on which account the guardians 
of the prince applied to the Western Republic to in- 
terpose her authority in the cause of justice, and to 
prevent the imdue aggrandizement of two ambitious 

This request was readily granted ; and that the inte- Koman 
rests of the Egj^ptian court might not suffer from delay, iDterferenea, 
Marcus jEmiiius Lepidus set sail for Alexandria to 
assume the direction of affah-s. IMeanwhile ambassadors 
were despatched to Antiochus and Phihp, charged with 
the determination of the senate, and instructed to make 
kno^^Ti the line of policy which the Roman government 
had resolved to pursue. But the peace and happiness venaiity of 
which were thus secured to the people ceased almost as Kpiphanes. 
soon as this feeble mler took the sceptre into liis own 
hand. He became coiTupt, and they became disaffected. 
Various conspiracies were formed and defeated ; but 
at length the attempt of an assassin succeeded, and Epi- 
phanes was cut off in the twenty-ninth year of his age. 


CHAP.liL The government was seized by the queen, a Syrian 
p - princess named Cleopatra, in behalf of her son, who was 

the Princess only six years old. Partiality for her native court, and 
cieopatia. ^j^g influence of her brother Antiochus, threatened the 
peace of Eg}-pt and even its independence, when the 
Romans again interposed to defeat the ambitious designs 
of Syria. But the young Ptolemy, distinguished by 
Euergetes XL the title of Philometer, was so completely in the power 
of his uncle that the inhabitants of Alexandria raised to 
the throne a younger prince, upon whom they conferred 
the surname of Euergetes, though, at a later period, he 
was better knowoi by the epithet Physcon, a term ex- 
pressive of unwieldy corpulence. The brothers at length 
divided the kingdom, and exercised a separate and inde- 
pendent sovereignty ; CjTene and Libya bemg ceded to 
the younger, while the other retained that original por- 
tion of Egj'pt which was considered as more strictly 
Rash policy Philometcr, at his death, left an infant son, who has 
of Euergetes. ^^q^^ denommated Ptolemy the Seventh, but who never 
attained the possession of power. To secure the tran- 
quillity of the nation, a union between the widow of the 
late king and Euergetes the Second was recommended by 
the Romans, and immediately adopted ; the right of suc- 
cession, on the demise of his uncle, being reser^'ed to 
the young prmce. But the jealousy of the cruel monarch 
soon put an end to the child's life, with the view, it 
might be presumed, of clearing the way for the accession 
of one of his own sons. He next repudiated his queen, 
whom he subsequently drove into S}Tia, and thereby in- 
volved his country in the hazard of a war with Deme- 
i^ disastrcufl trius, the rival and enemy of Eg^^^pt. Science and learn- 
ing, intimidated by the horrors wliich oppressed the 
kingdom, were observed to take flight from their ancient 
seat, and to seek an asylum m other lands. The semi- 
naries of Alexandria were deserted by the most distin- 
guished professors, who, together with the principal in- 
habitants of the Maritime District, found themselves 
menaced with imprisonment or death. Nor was it until 


after the lapse of twenty-nine years that Physcon, de- chap. in. 
tested for his crimes and feared for liis sanguinary dis- T^ "Tl 

/■•111 11 1 1 • * Disputed 

position, finished his earthly career, leaving Ins crown to succession. 
be disputed by three sons, Appion, Lathyrus, and Alex- 
ander. This reign will appear interesting in the eye of 
the philosophical historian, from the fact, which the Egyp- 
tians could no longer conceal from themselves, that the 
influence of Rome was daily gaining ground ui theii" 
councils, and already laying the foundations of that do 
minion wliich she afterwards formally usurped. 

Through the influence of Cleopatra, who had returned Success of 
from her Syrian exile, Alexander was preferred to the 
throne. But as the claims of Lathyrus were acknow- 
ledged by a majority of the people, he was encouraged 
to assert his right by force of arms ; and having succeeded 
in driving his younger brother mto a foreign country, 
he inflicted a severe j)unishment upon the insurgents of 
Upper Egj'^t, who had, during the political dissensions 
of the new capital, endeavoured to establish their inde- Revolt of the 
pendence. The inhabitants of the Thebaid had long felt 
themselves overlooked. The rising glory of Memphis 
first obscured the splendour of the ancient metropolis ; 
wliile, more recently, the importance of Alexandria, 
both as a place of leammg and of commerce, had at- 
tracted, to a still greater extent, the wealth and popula- 
tion of the kmgdom. It is not surprising, therefore, 
that the citizens of Thebes should have eiitertamed the 
desire of recovering some share of the distinction of 
which they had been gradually deprived, and, at the same 
time, of securing to their countrymen a seat of govern- 
ment at a greater distance from the arms and mtrigucs 
of their warlike neighbours. In suppressing tliis spirit 
of disaff^ection, Lathyrus is accused of an excessive seve- 
rity, in which he emulated the destructive policy of 
Cambyses, and reduced the remains of the venerable city 
to a heap of ruins. 

His death, in the year eighty-one before Christ, re- aeopatra i 
lieved the apprehensions of the people, and opened a path 
for the accession of Cleopatra, his only child, whose gentle 




CHAP. II r. 

Rival claim- 
ant to the 


Alexander II. 


His de- 

sex and manners gave the promise of a happy reign. 
This cheering anticipation might have been reahzed, had 
there not existed another claimant for the same honour 
in the person of Alexander, the son of her father's brother. 
Cleopatra was, without doubt, the legitimate sovereign, 
and was acknowledged as such by nearly all her subjects; 
but the councils which now directed the aflfairs of Egypt 
emanated from the shores of the Tiber. The Romans, 
who, at first, acted only as umpires, had already begun 
to enlarge their views ; and, after claiming a right to give 
their advice, they threatened to intei'pose with their arms. 
Sylla at this period discharged the office of Dictator, and, 
in vii'tue of his high prerogative as master of the com- 
monwealth, prescribed an arrangement to the competi- 
tors for the Egyptian crown. Cleopatra became the wife 
of her cousin Ptolemy, Alexander the Second, and there- 
by, it was hoped, had finally united the rival interests of 
the two branches of the royal family. But this measure 
produced not the auspicious results which were expected 
to arise from it. The ambitious youth, impatient of an 
equal, murdered his young wife, and seized the undivided 
sovereignty, which he appears to have occupied several 
years. At length he was compelled to flee from the 
indignation of his subjects to the coast of Tyre; where, 
just before his death, he made a will, by which he be- 
queathed Egypt to the Roman senate and people. 

The next who assumed and disgraced the title of Pto- 
lemy, was a son of Lathyrus, who, from the excellence 
of his performances on the flute, was sui-named Auletes. 
This weak prince proved a tool of the Romans, and evi- 
dently lent himself to accomplish their favourite design 
of reducing his country to the condition of a province 
dependent on the republic. The leading men at court 
who had no difficulty in penetrating his intentions, ex- 
pelled him from the throne, and placed the scepti-e in 
the hand of his daughter Berenice. To defend them- 
selves stLU farther against the intrigues of Rome, they 
proposed to many their young sovereign to the King of 
Syria, — hoping that the combined forces of the two king- 


doms would prove more than a match for the legions chap, iil 
usually stationed beyond the Hellespont. But the pre- Forcedre- 
mature death of Antiochus defeated this wise project. storaUonaiid 
Auletes was restored through the interest of the cele- *"''' 
brated Pompey, and conducted into his capital by ^lai'k 
Antony, a commander hai'dly less renowned. After a 
series of oppressions and cruelties, among which may be 
mentioned the mui'der of Berenice, he terminated a 
shameful reign by an early death, — intrusting his sur- 
viving children to the care and tuition of the Roman 

Among the infants thus left to the protection of the Cleopatra 
senate, were the famous Cleopatra and her brother c'lonyL^ii'"^ 
Ptolemy Dionysius, who, as soon as they came of age, 
were raised to the throne, and associated in the govern- 
ment. But their friendship and union were of short con- 
tinuance ; and each having the support of a numerous 
party, their dissensions almost necessarily terminated in 
a ci\dl war. The queen was compelled to seek refuge in 
Syria ; soon after which event, Julius Csesar, who, b}^ Julius Casar. 
his victory at Pharsalia, had ali-eady made himself master 
of the commonwealth, appeared in Egj-pt to complete his 
conquest, and to quell the intestine commotions by which 
the w^hole of that kingdom Avas distracted. She lost no 
time in repaii-ing to Alexandria, where she was secretly 
introduced into the presence of the Roman general. 
This able soldier and politician immediately restored 
to her the share of power which she had formerly pos- 
sessed, — issuing a decree, in the name of the senate, that New settie- 
Dionysius and his sister Cleopatra should be acknow- "'^°'' 
ledged as joint sovereigns of Egj'pt. The partisans of 
the young king, being dissatisfied with this aiTangement, 
had recourse to a mihtary stratagem, by which Csesar 
and his attendants were nearly destroyed. A war ensued 
soon afterwards, which ended in the death of Ptolemy 
and the complete establishment of the Romans, not less as 
conquerors than as guardians of the children of Auletes. 

But it was not consistent with Eg\iDtian deconim that Ep^-ptian 
Cleopatra should reign without a colleague ; and, there- decorum. 



CHAT, in 

The col- 

Triumph of 

Death of 

Egypt re- 
duced to a 

Adrian and 

fore, to satisfy the prejudices of the people, her youngest 
brother, not more than eleven years of age, was placed 
beside her on the throne. Such a nomination could not 
be regarded in any other light than as a show of limiting 
the power of the queen ; and even this apparent check on 
her authority was soon removed by the murder of the 
child, who fell a \'ictim to the furious passions which at 
that period dishonoured the descendants of the great 

But the term of their dynasty was now fast approach- 
ing. The assassination of Julius Caesar and the subse- 
quent defeat of Antony, raised the fortunes of Octavian 
above the reach of the most powei-ful of his rivals, and 
at length invested him with the imperial purple, as the 
acknowledged head of the Roman world, Cleopatra made 
her escape from his revenge in a voluntary death ; for, 
suspecting that he intended to wound her feelings by 
placing her in the train of captives who were to adorn his 
triumph, she found means to put an end to her life by 
the bite of a poisonous reptile. With her ended the 
line of Grecian sovereigns, which had continued two 
hundred and ninety-six yeai*s. 

As a province of the Western empire, the history of 
Egj'pt can hardly be separated from that of the mighty 
people by whose deputies it was now to be governed. 
It was, indeed, occasionally disturbed by insuiTections, 
and sometimes even by foreign war ; but it was, not- 
withstanding, retained with a iinn grasp both against 
domestic and external foes, until the decline of power 
compelled the successors of Augustus to summon the 
legions from their remotest territories, to defend the 
provinces on the Tiber and the Danube. Adrian, in the 
beginning of the second century, spent two yeai-s in 
Egypt, during which he laboured to revive among the 
natives the love of letters and the beauties of architec- 
ture. Severus, too, at a somewhat later period, made a 
similar visit, when, like his predecessor, he exerted liim- 
self to relieve the burdens and improve the condition of 
the great body of the people. In particular, he counte- 


nanced every attempt that was made to repair the ancient chap, hi, 
monuments ; to replenish the museums and libraries at „ — 
Alexandria with books, instruments, and works of art ; ment of 
and, above all, to w^itlidraw the minds of the more con- ^'^^™i"S- 
templative from the dangerous pursuits of magic and 
the contemptible deceptions of astrology. The reigns of Zenobia, 
Claudius and of Aurelian were slightly agitated by the patayra. 
pretensions of Zenobia, queen of Palmyra, who, as a 
descendant of the Ptolemies, announced herself the 
legitimate sovereign. Her ai-my advanced to the fron- 
tiers, and even gained some advantages over the Romans ; 
but her troops being at length steadily opposed by the 
legions of Syria, she sustained a total defeat, and was 
earned captive into Italy. 

When, at a later period, the Emperor Probus visited The Emperor 
Egypt, he executed many considerable works for the 
splendour and benefit of the country. The navigation 
of the Nile, so important to Rome itself, was improved 
and temples, bridges, porticos, and palaces, were con- 
structed by the hands of his soldiers, who acted by turns 
as arcliitects, as engineers, and as husbandmen. On the Division of 
division of the empire by Diocletian, Egypt was reduced b^Dio-^"^'' 
to a very distracted state. Achilleus at Alexandria, and cietian. 
the Blemmyes, a savage race of Etliiopians, defied the 
Roman arms. The emperor, resolving to punish the in- 
surgents, opened the campaign with the siege of Alex- 
andria. He cut off the aqueducts which supplied every 
quarter of that immense city with water, and pushed his His revenge 
attacks with so much caution and vigour that, at the end ^ria, liasiris 
of eight months, the besieged submitted to his clemency. "'"^ Coptoa. 
The fate of Busii-is and Coi^tos was even more melan- 
choly than that of Alexandria. Those proud cities, — the 
former distinguished by its antiquity, the latter enriched 
by the passage of the Indian trade, — were utterly destroy- 
ed by the arms of the enraged conqueror.* 

The introduction of Chi-istianity was marked by re- 
peated outrages among the people, and even by such 

* Gibbon, vol. i. chap. 6. 


CHAP. III. commotions as threatened to shake the stability of the 
„ — r. government. The adherents of the old superstition re- 

Commotions 6 . ,i i x .• ^ Ii • . i 

consequent sisted, on some occasions, tlie destruction oi their temples 
duction'of'° ^"*^ the contemptuous exposure of their idols ; while, in 
Christianity, more than one instance, the Christian ministers, with a 
larger share of zeal than of discretion, insulted their 
opinions, and even set at defiance the authority of the 
ci^ol magistrate when interposed to preserve the public 
peace. But, after the conversion of Constantine, the 
Influence of power of the Church was effectually exerted to co-operate 
m^on'^of"^^'" with the provmcial rulers in supporting the rights of the 
Constantine. Empire, and in repelling the inroads of the barbarians 
from the east and south. Nor was it tUl a new religion 
arose in Arabia, and gave birth to a dynasty of warlike 
sovereigns, that Egypt, wrested from its European con- 
querors, was forced to receive more arbitrary masters, 
aud submit to a severer yoke. This era, however, con- 
stitutes the point in our historical retrospect at which 
we announced our intention to interrupt the narrative, 
until we shall have laid before the reader an account of 
the arts, the literature, and commerce of the ancient 



Mechanical Labours of the Ancient Egyptians. 

The Magnitude of Egyptian Edifices — Tlieir supposed Object con- 
nected with the Doctrine of the Metempsychosis — Proposal made 
to Alexander the Great — Lake JMoeris ; Its Extent — The Nar- 
rative of Herodotus ; Supported by Diodorus and Pomponius 
Mela — Bahr Yousef — Remarks by Denon and Belzoni — Lake 
Moeris not a Work of Art — The River of Joseph and Canals 
connecting it with the Nile — The Labyrinth — Various Opi- 
nions as to its Situation — Pyramids ; Account by Herodotus ; 
Researches of Davison ; of Caviglia ; of Belzoni ; Dimensions of 
Pyramids — Sphinx; Exertions of Caviglia — Monolithic Temple 
— Tombs— Reflections— Canal of Bubastis — Its Length from Nile 
to Red Sea — Comprehends four Sections — Description of it by 
the Ancients — Its Dimensions — Reasons why it was partially 
abandoned — Re-established by the Caliph Omar — Surveyed by 
the French — Estimated Expense of Re-opening it. 

The history of Egypt presents nothing more wonderful chap. iv. 
than the magnitude and durahility of the public works Magnitude 
which were accomplished by her ancient inhabitants, and dura- 
Prodigal of labour and expense, her architects appear to Egyptian 
have planned their structures for the admiration of the '^"'"ks. 
most distant posterity, and with the view of rendering 
the fame of theu' mechanical powers coeval with the ex- 
istence of the globe itself. It has been suspected, indeed, 
that the omnipotent spu-it of religion mingled with the 
aspirations of a more earthly ambition in suggesting the 
intricacies of the Labyrinth, and in realizing the vast 
conception of the P^a-amids. The preservation of the 
body in an entire and uncorrupted state during three thou- 
sand years, is undei*stood to have been connected with 


Influence of 




project of 

Lake Moerii 


the mythological tenet that the spirit by wliich it was 
originally occupied would return to animate its members, 
and to render them once more the instruments of a moral 
probation amid the ordinary pursuits of the human race. 
The moi-tal remauis, even of the greatest prince, could 
hardly have been regarded as deserving of the minute 
care and the sumptuous apparatus which were employed 
to save them from dissolution, had not the national faith 
pointed to a renewal of existence after the lapse of ages^ 
when the bodily organs would again Ijecome necessary 
to the exercise of those faculties from wliich the dignity 
and enjoyment of man are derived. There can be no 
doubt, therefore, that Egypt was indebted to the reli- 
gious speculations of her ancient sages for those sublime 
works of architecture which still distinguish her above 
all the other nations of the primitive world. 

It must at the same time be acknowledged that, in 
countries comparatively rude, vastness of size takes pre- 
cedence of aU other qualities in architectural arrange- 
ment. As a proof of this, it will not be denied that even 
tlie Pyramids sink into insignificance when compared 
with an undertaking proposed by Stesicrates to Alexan- 
der the Great. Plutarch relates, that tliis projector offer- 
ed to convert Mount Athos into a statue of the victori- 
ous monarch. The left ann was to be the base of a city 
containing ten thousand inhabitants ; wldle the right was 
to hold an urn, from wliich a river was to empty itself 
into the sea. But our object in tliis chapter is not to 
describe the fanciful dreams of a panegyrist, but to give 
an account of works which were actually effected, and 
of which the remauis continue at the present day to 
verify at once the existence and the gi-andeur. 

We shall begin with Lake Moeris, which, although it 
may be regarded as owing more to nature than to ai"t, is 
nevertheless well worthy of notice, both for its great 
extent and for its patriotic object. Herodotus, our best 
authority for its origmal appearance, informs us that the 
circumference of tliis vast sheet of water was three thou- 
sand six hundred stadia, or four hundred and fifty miles, 


— that it stretched from north to south, — and that its chap. iv. 
gi«atest depth was about three hundred feet. He adds, its origin 
that it was entirely the product of human industry ; as and extent. 
a proof of which he states, that in its centre were seen two 
pyramids, each of which was two hundred cubits above Decorations. 
and as many beneath the water, and that upon the sum- 
mit of both was a colossal statue placed in a sitting atti- 
tude. The precise height of these pyramids therefore, 
he concludes, is four hundred cubits, or six hundred 
Egyptian feet. 

The waters of the lake, he continues, are not supplied Source of its 
by springs : on the contrary, the ground which it occu- '"^'*''^- 
pies is of itself remarkably dry ; l)ut it communicates by 
an artificial channel with the NUe, — receiving, during 
sis months, the excess of the inmidation, and during the 
other half of the year emptying itself back into the river. 
Every day, during the latter period, the fishery yields to Fishery, 
the royal treasury a talent of silver, — whereas, as soon 
as the ebb has ceased, the produce falls to a mere trifle. 
" The inhabitants affinn of this lake, that it has a sub- 
terranean passage westward into the Libyan Desert, in 
the line of the mountain which rises above Memphis, I 
was anxious to know what became of the earth which 
was dug out of the lake, and made inquiry at those who 
dwelt on its shores." The answer given to this very 
natural question seems to have imposed on the credulity 
of the historian. They assured lum that the soil was 
canied to the river, and washed down by the current 
into the sea, — ^an explanation with which he appears to 
have been perfectly satisfied. 

In reference to this narrative, Avhich exliibits the Confirmation 
usual characteristics of truth and simplicity, we may re- tive of 
mark, that it is substantially confirmed by the state- Herodotus, 
ments of Diodorus Siculus and of Pomponius Mela. 
According to the former of these writei-s, the circumfer- 
ence of the lake was exactly that which has been al- 
ready quoted from the more ancient historian ; while 
the latter magnifies it to the extent of five hundred 
miles. They all agree in tliinking that its object must 



of the lake. 

CHAP. IV. have been to save the country from the effects of an ex- 
Object of the ^essive inundation, and at the same time to reserve a 
lake. supply of moisture for the arid lands in the viciuity, or 

for the wants of a dry season in the Delta. It is pro- 
bable, however, that it was rather to prevent an evil 
than to secure a benefaction ; for we find that the water 
has not only a disagreeable taste, but is almost as salt as 
the sea, — a quality which it is supposed to contract from 
the nitre with wliich the surrounding land is every where 

Last century, according to Pococke, this sheet of water 
was about fifty miles long and ten broad. The older 
French craters estimated its circumference at a hundred 
and fifty leagues, — a result materially different from that 
of the English traveller. ]Mr Bro'RTie, who was more 
lately in Egypt, thought that the length did not exceed 
thirty or forty miles, and that the greatest breadth was 
not more than six. It is therefore manifest that the 
limits of tliis inland sea have been much contracted ; and, 
moreover, that the process of diminution is still going on 
at a rate which is distinctly perceptible. 

In its present contracted dimensions, the Lake of 
Moeris is called by the Arabs the Birket el Keroun, and 
is recognised at once as a basin fomied by nature, and 
not by art. The details collected by Herodotus, and the 
other writers of Greece and Rome, must therefore have 
applied to the works which were necessary not only to 
Bahr Yousef. connect the Nile with the lake, but also to regulate tbe 
ebb and flow of the inundation. The canal, called 
Joseph's River, is about a hundred and twenty mUes in 
length ; which, when it enters the valley of Fayoum, is 
divided into a number of subordinate branches, and sup- 
plied with a variety of locks and dams. There were two 
other canals communicating between the lake and the 
Nile, with sluices at their mouths, which were alternately 
shut and opened as the cuiTent rose or fell. These, we 
may presume, were the achievements of IMoeris ; which, 
when they are regarded as the work of an indiA-idual, 
having for their object the advantage and comfort of a 

of it. 

Canals of 


great people, may justly he esteemed a far more glorious chap. iv. 
undertaking than either the Pyramids or the Labj-rinth. AncicnT 

In no circumstance, indeed, do the arts and civilisa- improvement 
tion of ancient Egj-pt appear more manifest than in the 
care which was taken to improve the productive qualities 
of the sou. by means of irrigation. A slight inspection 
of the plain of Fayoum, even in its present neglected 
state, affords the most convincing evidence that, in the 
days of the Pharaohs, no degree of labour was accounted 
too great, provided it could secure to the agriculturist a 
share in the blessing annually communicated by the Nile. 

Near Beni Souef, in Middle Egypt, the river passes River near 
close under the foot of the Arabian hills, and leaves on ^^"^ So\ief. 
tlie western side a large extent of fertile land. At this 
place the excellence of the system followed by the 
ancients is most distinctly perceived. The soil deposited 
during the inundation, as we have elsewhere observed, 
accumulates fastest near the banks, and forms a ridge 
about a mile and a half broad, which is above the level 
of the water at all seasons. Between this elevation and character r>f 
the hUls there is a hollow, and then a second rising of ^^nk's '^' 
tlie sui-fice ; so that from the Nile to the rocky barrier 
of the Libyan Desert, there are two ridges and two de- 
pressions. Hence two kinds of canals became requisite, 
— large ones in the bottom of these hollows, and a smaller 
class branching off on either side, to water the interme- 
diate grounds. To render these last available, dikes of 
considerable magnitude were, at certain distances, con- 
structed across the current of the main canals, which 
served both as dams to retain the water for a sufficient 
time, and as roads from village to v-illage. Between 
Siout and Fayoum, accordingly, where the distance from principal 
the Nile and the mountains is the greatest, several prin- cabals, 
cipal canals, parallel to the river, were dug in ancient 
times ; among which, the most remarkable were the 
Bahr Yousef, and another called the Hatn, — the line of 
which last, however, cannot be so distinctly traced at 
the present day. In the same district there were eleven 
large mounds or dikes, besides a considerable number of 




nary inunda- 



Great worJt 
of Moeris. 

extent of 

smaller size, — all provided with sluices to regulate the 
issue of water according to the state of the crops and the 
height of the inundation. , 

This precaution, on some occasions, must have heen 
absolutely necessar}'. Belzoni tells us, that the year in 
which he visited Fayoum an extraordinary overflow of 
the NUe sent such a quantity of water into the lake, 
that it rose twelve feet higher than it had ever been 
known by the oldest fisherman. Denon, in like man- 
ner, remarks that, if it were not for the dikes which 
stop the inundation, the great swells would soon convert 
the whole province into an inland sea, — an event which 
had nearly taken place about forty years ago, during an 
unusually high flood, when the river rose over the banks 
of Ilahon, and created an apprehension that it would lay 
the plain under water, or resume the channel which it 
had evidently occupied in remote ages. To remedy this 
inconvenience a graduated mound has been raised near 
the village just named, where there is also a sluice erected, 
which, as soon as the inundation has attained the proper 
height to water the province without drowning it, divides 
the mass of fluid ; taking the quantity necessary for ir- 
rigation, and turning aside the remainder by forcing it 
back into the river through other canals of a deeper cut, 
directed to a lower section of the stream. 

We have already suggested that the great work of 
Eong ]\Ioeris is to be sought for, not m the lake which 
beai-s liis name, but in the immense excavations which 
connected it with the NUe, and in the mounds, the 
dams, and the sluices, which rendered it subservient to 
the important pui-poses of imgation. The observations 
of Belzoni, during his journey to the Oasis, give much 
probability to the opinion that the reign of civilisation 
had, at an early age, extended far into the Libyan waste. 
Ruins of towns, and other tokens of an improved popu- 
lation, meet the eye from time to time ; masses of sand 
cover the monuments of an age comparatively enhght- 
ened, and deform plains which, there is every reason to 
beheve, were at one time the scene of agricultural in- 


dustry, of the arts, and of law. A similar inference chap, iv 
might he drawn from an examination of the country 
which stretches to the southward of Tripoli ; where are mins. 
still to be found the relics of magnificent buildings, 
mixed with the sliingle of the desert, and affording to 
the barbarians who now traverse that wilderness a con- 
stant triumph over the achievements of polished life. 
For this reason, we ought not to give way to an undue 
liaste in concluding that the descriptions of the lake 
left to us by the ancient authors are much exaggerated. 
The pyramids mentioned by Herodotus, if we may form Pyramid of 
a judgment from the remains of those which still stand 
at the entrance of the valley, were built of brick, and 
may therefore long ago have yielded to the solvent power 
of the atmosphere, supplying perhaps part of those ruins 
which are at present found scattered along the beach. 
It is not to be imagined that they were placed in the 
deep basin formed by nature, and which is stUl occu- 
pied by the Birket el Keromi, but rather in that divi- 
sion of the lake which was prepared by art for the 
reception of the annual flood, at the period when JMoeris 
changed the course of the Nile from its more ancient 

The LabjTinth is also mentioned by Herodotus as one The lab/- 
of the greatest wonders of Egypt, and the most surpris- ^^^^' 
ing effort of human ingenuity and perseverance. " It 
exceeds, I can tmly assert, all that has been said of it ; 
and whoever takes the trouble to examine them will find 
all the works of Greece much inferior to this, both in 
regard to workmanship and expense. The temples of 
Ephesus and Samos may justly claim admiration, and 

* Belzoni, vol. ii. p. 150-158. Joraard, Descrlp. de I'Egypte, 
vol. ii. p. 8-43. Strabo, xvi. c. 1. Nouvelles Annales des Voy- 
ages, xi. p. 13.3. Pococke's Travels in the East. Wilford, in Asia- 
tic Researches, vol. iii. p. 245. 

The words of Pliny are remarkable in regard to the extent of 
Lake Moeris, as compared with its limits in his own day : — " Inter 
Arsinoitem autem et Memphitem lacus fuit, ctrcuitu eel. IM.p., aut, 
ut Mutianus tradit, ccccl. M.p., et altitudinis L. pass., manu factus, 
a'rege qui fecerat Moeridis appellatus." P. 69. 


CHAP. IV. the pyramids may individually be compared to many of 
Its structure *^^ magnificent stnictures erected by the Greeks ; but 
and arrange- even these are inferior to the Labyrinth. It is composed 
'^^"'' of twelve courts, all of which are covered ; theii* en- 

trances are opposite to each other, six to the north and 
six to the south ; one wall encloses the Avliole. The 
apartments are of two kinds ; there are fifteen hundred 
above the surface of tlie ground, and as many beneath, — 
Description in all three thousand. Of the former, I can speak from 
of erodotiis. j^^^. ^^^ knowledge and observation ; of the latter, only 
from the information which I received. The persons 
who had the charge of the subterranean apartments 
would not suffer me to see them, alleging that in these 
were preserved the sacred crocodiles, and the bodies of 
the kings who constructed the Labyrinth. Of these, 
therefore, I presume not to speak ; but the upper apart- 
ments I myself examined, and I pronounce them to be 
among the greatest triumphs of human industry and art. 
The almost infinite number of winding passages through 
the difi'erent courts excited my warmest admiration. 
From spacious halls I passed through smaller chambers, 
and from them again to large magnificent courts almost 
internfti A\'ithout end. The ceilings and walls are all of marble, 
the latter richly adorned with the finest sculpture ; and 
around each court are pillars of the same material, the 
whitest and most polished that I ever saw. At the point 
where the Labyrinth temiinatcs stands a pyramid one 
hundred and sixty cubits high, having large figures of 
animals engraved on the outside, and an entrance to the 
interior by a path under ground."* 
Site of the The Same historian relates that this stupendous edifice 

was constructed beyond the Lake Moeris near the City 
of Crocodiles, now better known as Arsinoe, or the IMe- 
dinet el Fayoum. He ascribes the design of the build- 
ing to a determination on the part of the twelve kings, 
who at that period governed Egypt, to leave behind 
them a monument worthy of their reno^vn ; and hence, 

* Lib. V. c. 9. Herodotus, book ii. chap. 148. 



perhaps, the numher of the courts and gates by which chap, iv 
this immense structure was distinguished. 

Diodorus says that it was built as a sepulclire for Accounts of 
Mendes ; while Strabo intimates that it only stood near gtr^fba"^''"** 
the tomb of the monarch who erected it. Pomponius 
Mela, again, speaks of it as having been consti-ucted by 
Psammeticus ; but, as Mendes or Imandes is mentioned 
ty several ^ratei-s, it is probable that he was the king of 
the particular province in which the Labyrinth was 
placed, and who, as possessing the greatest influence and 
authority might have his funeral monument set apart 
from the rest. It is, however, deserving of notice that, 
although no other traveller gives so minute an account confirmation 
as has been supplied by Herodotus, the testimony of an- oftheac- 
cient times tends decidedly to support the main facts Herodotus, 
contained in liis narrative. Strabo, for instance, de- 
6cribes the passages as being so numerous and artfully 
contrived that it was impossible to enter any one of the 
palaces, or to leave it, without a guide. Pliny, too, 
makes a reference to it, which proves at least his con- 
viction that it was worthy of the fame universally re- 
ceived concerning it ; and states, that it was the pattern 
of all the similar works which had been attempted in 
different parts of Europe. 

But it must not be concealed that the curiosity of the j^jiyre ^f 
modems, who have employed themselves in searching modem 
for the remains of this superb structure, has been very 
generally disappointed ; and, of consequence, that there 
is a great difference of opinion among them as to its 
real position. Larcher and Gibert, after a long investi- 
gation of the subject, saw reason to conclude that the DifTerencea 
situation of the Labyrinth must have been at Senures ; ° "P"""" 
while Pococke, Banier, and Savary, follow the ancient 
historians in placing it beyond Arsinoe, in the direction 
of the Libyan Desert, and on the shore of Lake ^loeris. 
Amidst the ruins of Keroun, accordingly, the attention 
of certain Prench travellers was particularly fixed by the 
appearance of several narrow, low, and very long cells, 
which, it was thought, could have had no other use than 




of Belzoni. 


Remains of 



Change of 

that of containing the sacred crocodiles ; and these have 
therefore been imagined to correspond with the remains 
of the great building in question. 

But this supposition is not confirmed by the more 
diligent researches of Belzoni. He is more inclined to 
adopt an opinion founded on the narrative of the Roman 
naturalist, that this sumptuous monument of ancient 
taste must have stood in the neighbourhood of Terza, at 
the west end of the Lake Moeris. He there observed 
several blocks of white stone and red granite, which evi- 
dently must have been taken from edifices of great mag- 
nitude. Reflecting on the description of Pliny, who 
places the Labyrinth in that very situation, he made the 
most diligent search among the remains of antiquity to 
ascertain whether the marble fragments bore any evidence 
of the exquisite workmanship ascribed to the famed 
structure of Psammeticus. He admits that he saw not 
the smallest appearance of an edifice either on the ground 
or under it ; but, at the same time, he beheld through 
all that pail of the country a " great number of stones 
and columns of beautiful colours, of wliite marble and 
of granite." These materials of a splendid architecture 
he observed scattered about for the space of several miles, 
some on the road, and some in the houses of the Arabs, 
and others put to various uses in the erection of huts. 
It was not, therefore, without very plausible reasons that 
he arrived at the conclusion already stated ; and we are 
satisfied that most of his readers will concur with liim in 
the opinion that, by tracing those interesting ruins to their 
source, the site of the Labyrinth might yet be discovered. 
It is true that, having been but little elevated above the 
ground, the building may be already buried to a great 
depth under the mass of soil and sand which is constantly 
accumulating in all parts of the valley.* 

Nothing is more certain than that the level of the lake, 
as well as of the adjoining land, must have been raised 
considerably since the first era of historical records. 

* Belzoni, vol. ii. p. 161-165. 


Belzoni himself observed, in one part of it, pillars and chap, iv 
i-uins of ancient buildings now nearly under water ; inroads of 
and it is well known that the present i-ulers of Egypt ^ater and 
have more than once found it necessary to erect new 
dikes upon the ancient mounds, to obviate the effects of 
an excessive inundation. Denon, too, remarks that at 
the moutli of this valley the remains of villages over- 
whelmed by the sand may be every where discovered ; 
addmg, that nothing is so melancholy to the feelings as 
to march over these ruins, to tread under foot the roofs 
of houses and the tops of minarets, and to think that 
these were once cultivated fields, flourishing gardens, and 
the habitations of man. Every thing living has disap- 
peared, silence is within and around every wall, and the 
deserted villages are like the dead, whose skeletons strike 
with terror.* 

Wlien these circumstances are considered, it will be Difficuih- of 
allowed, both that there is good evidence for the exist- tile laby- 
ence of an ancient building of great magnificence on the '^"^'^• 
shores of lake Moeris, and also that the changes to which 
the neighbouring soil is constantly sul'jected, render the 
discover}' of the Labyrinth, more especially the subter- 
ranean chambers, an undertaking of tlie utmost uncer- 
tainty. From what stiU remains under our e}'es, we 
are justified in believing almost every thing of Egyptian 
grandeur, when the object of the architect was to do 
honour to the gods, or to preserve the memory of a 
beneficent king. 

Of the Avonderful people, indeed, who inhabited the Remarkable 
banks of the Nile, there is nothing more remarkable than Egjptian'" 
that their greatest effoiis were made at a time when, history. 
with regard to religious faith, they were in the grossest 
ignorance and darkness, and tliat, when light sprang up 
around them, their power, their taste, or their zeal, 
seemed to decay, — yieldmg to the domination of barba- 
rian tribes, who were indebted to them for all their 
knowledge, as well as for their superstition. Persia 

• Denon, vol. ii. p. 218. 


CHAP. IV. added notliixig to the arts or architectural improvement 
Persian" ^^ ^?yP* 5 ^^^ Greeks presumed not to rival their masters 
and Greek in the construction of temples, p}Tamids, and labyiinths ; 
"*'"^^ and the propagation of the true religion, under the Ro- 
man emperors, put an end to the lofty imaginations 
Avhich the subjects of the Pharaohs were wont to realize 
in their national structures. Christianity, which blesses 
Effects of every land where it is cordially received, contributed 
Christianity jj-jQgj. q£ ^^l to the extinction of that spirit which had im- 
pelled the Egyptians to undertake and carry into effect 
designs so vast and imperishable as those which stUl call 
forth the astonishment of the traveller. The days of 
their mythology were those of their proudest glories, and, 
we may add, of their greatest happiness and freedom. 
The blind belief iu the di\'ine origia of their monarchs. 
Influence of as also the inspiring dogma that the soul was to return 
fai^it'"^'^'^^ to its ancient tenement in the flesh, encouraged them to 
erect monuments which might resist the pressure of ten 
thousand years, and carry the fame of their authors to 
the very thi'eshold of eternity. But when the exercise 
of then- primitive superstition was no longer allowed, 
and another faith was introduced in its place, the temples 
were gradually" abandoned, and the spuit of the Egyp- 
tians, imsubdued by the severest political oppression, 
j-ielded at length to a more prevailing power, which 
directed their hopes and fears to the contemplation of 
loftier and more spiritual objects.* 
The pyra- But whatever doubt may exist in respect to the situa- 

^'^ tion and remains of the Labyrinth, there can be none 

relative to the next great object of Egyptian ait, which 
we are about to introduce to the reader. The p;yTamids, 
during several thousand years, have attracted the curi- 
osity of the traveller, and given rise to much leai-ned 
disquisition ; while so great is their magnitude, and so 
durable the material of which they are constinicted, that 
they present to the moderns the same subject of study 
which was contemplated by Herodotus, Eratosthenes, 

• Webster toI. ii. p. 221. 


Diodonis, and Strabo. Pursuing the plan we have chap, rv 
hitherto followed, we shall first extract fi-om the oldest oido't 
Greek historian the tradition wliich prevailed in his da}'s, tiadition. 
and then draw from other sources the most probable 
account of the origin, the date, the intention, and the 
actual appearance of those famous buildings. 

Herodotus, it is well known, ascribes the largest of the Narrative of 
pyramids to Cheops, a tyrannical and profligate sove- ^^° ° """ 
reign. " He barred the avenues to every temple, and 
forbade the Egyptians to offer sacrifice to the gods ; after 
which, he compelled the people at large to perform the 
work of slaves. Some he condemned to hew stones out 
of the Ai-abian mountains, and drag them to the banks 
of the Nile ; others were stationed to receive the same 
in vessels, and transport them to the edge of the Libyan 
desert. In this service a hundred thousand men were Number of 
employed, who Avere relieved every three months. Ten ^orkmea 
years were spent in the hard labour of forming the road 
on which these stones were to be drawn, — a work, in my 
estuuation, of no less difficulty and fatigue than the 
erection of the pyramid itself. This causeway is five Great cause- 
stadia in length, forty cubits wide, and its greatest height ^'^^• 
thirty-two cubits ; tlie whole betog composed of polished 
marble, adorned with the figures of animals. Ten years, 
as I have observed, were consumed in forming this pave- 
ment, in preparing the hill on which the pyramids are 
raised, and in excavatmg chambers under the ground. 
The burial-place wliich he intended for himself, he con- 
trived to insulate within the buUding, by introducing Time of 
the waters of the Nile. The pyramid itself was a work ^ ^' 
of twenty years ; it is of a square form, every side being 
eight plethra in length and as many in height. The 
stones are very skilfully cemented, and none of them of 
less dimensions than thirty feet.* 

* I have departed from the common translation of this passage, 
which, it must be acknowledged, is shrouded in some degree of 
obscurity. In Beloe's version, and even in Larcher's, to which he 
appears to have been much indebted, the reader is led to conclude 
that the object of the architect, in forming leads or canals from 





of finishing. 

Reign of 

PyriiTnid of 

** The ascent of the pyramid was regularly graduated 
by what some call steps, and others altars. Having 
finished the first tier, they elevated the stones to the 
second by the aid of machmes constructed of short 
pieces of wood ; from the second, by a similar engine, 
they were raised to the tliird ; and so on to the summit. 
Thus there were as many machines as there were courses 
in the structure of the pyramid, though there might 
have been only one, which, being easilj' manageable, 
could be raised from one layer to the next in succession ; 
both modes were mentioned to me, and I know not 
which of them deserves most credit. The summit of the 
pyramid was first finished and coated, and the process 
was contmued downward till the whole was completed. 
Upon the exterior were recorded, in Egyptian characters, 
the various sums expended in the progress of the work, for 
the radishes, onions, and garlic consumed by the artificers. 
This, as I well remember, my interpreter informed me 
amounted to no less a sum than one thousand six hun- 
dred talents. If this be true, how much more must it 
have cost for iron tools, food, and clothes for the work- 
men ! — ^j)articularly when we consider the length of time 
they were employed in the building itself, besides what 
was spent on the quan-ying and carnage of the stones, 
and the constnictiou of the subterraneous apartments. 

" According to the account given to me by the Egyp- 
tians, this Cheops reigned fifty years. He was succeeded 
on the throne bj- his brother Cephrenes, who pursued a 
policy similar in all respects. He also built a pyramid, 
but it was not so large as his brother's, for I measured 
them both. It has no subterraneous chambers, nor any 
channel for the admission of the Nile, which, ui the other 
pyramid, is made to surround an island where the body 

the Nile, was to surround the pjTamids ■themselves with water ; 
whereas it appears that the real intention was to place in an 
island, or, in other words, to enclose with the sacred stream, the 
repository of the royal corpse in the interior of the building — 
Taj I'jroiiiro ^rixa; iuuriu Iv vjjff'a;, itu^vKoc. rod Ns^Xau ifayayw*— 
Euter. 124. 


cf Cheops is said to be deposited. Thus, for the space of CHAP. iv. 
one hundred and six yeai-s, the Eg^-ptians were exposed oppression 
to every spucies of oppression and calamity : not havina; consequent 

, , , . , ■ -I -I ■ ■ , !• .'-on these un- 

had, during this long period, pennission to Avorship m dertakings. 
their temples. Theii- aversion to the memory of both 
these monarchs is so great that they have the utmost re- 
luctance to mention even their names. They call their 
pyramids by the name of Philitis, who, at the epoch ui 
question, fed his cattle in that part of Egypt." 

It is from the last circumstance mentioned by Hero- inferences 
dotus that the very probable conclusion has been formed critics. 
by Bryant, Dr Hales, and others, "with regard to the 
jjeople by Avhom the pyramids are supposed to have been 
erected. It is manifest, at fii-st sight, that the dynasty 
of princes to whom these stupendous works are ascribed 
were foreigners, and also, that they professed a religion -Ascribed to 

^ ' ' J r o _ foreigners. 

hostile to the animal worship of the Egj-ptians ; for it is 
recorded by the liistorian, with an emphatic distinctness, 
that, during the whole period of their domination, the 
temples were shut, sacrifices were prohibited, and the 
people subjected to every species of oppression and cala- 
mity. Hence it follows that the date of the pyramids 
must s^Ticlii-onise with the epoch of the Shepherd kings, 
— those monarchs who were held as an abomination by 
the EgA^itians, and who, we may confidently assert, occu- 
pied the throne of the Pharaohs during some part of the 
interval which elapsed between the biilh of Abraham 
and the captivity of Joseph. 

The reasoning now advanced will receive additional ^jg^^^ 
confirmation, when we consider that buildings of the pyramids. 
pjTamidal order were not uncommon among the nations 
of the East, having probably some connexion with the 
principles of that more refined adoration which du-ected 
the feehngs of its votaries to the magnificence of the 
heavenly host, and to the uifluence supposed to be exer- 
cised by their movements on the destmy of man. At 
the present day there are pyramids in India, — and more 
especially in Benares, where there is one formed of earth 
and covered with bricks. An edifice of the same kind 




PjTamld at 

Tower of 


nse of the 


Opinion of 
Dr. Shaw. 

has been observed at Medun in Egj'pt, constmcted in 
different stories or platforms, dimLnishing in size as they 
rise in height, until they terminate in a point, — the exact 
pattern, it is said, which was supplied by the followers 
of Boodha in the plan of their ancient pjTamids, as these 
have been described by European travellers, on the banks 
of the Indus and the Ganges. Such, too, is understood 
to have been the form of the Tower of Babel, the object 
of which may have been to celebrate the mysteries of 
Sabaism, the fii-st and purest superstition of the untaught 
mind. jMr Wilford infoiTQS us that, on his describiag 
the great Egyptian pyramid to several very learned 
Bramins, they declared it at once to have been a temple ; 
and one of tlaem asked if it had not a communication 
with the river Nile. When he answered that such a 
passage was mentioned as having existed, and that a well 
was at tliis day to be seen, they unanimously agreed that 
it was a place appropriated to the worship of Padma Devi, 
and that the supposed tomb was a trough which, on cer- 
tain festivals, her priests used to fill with the sacred 
water and lotus-flowers.* 

The most probable opmion respecting the object of 
these vast edifices is that which combines the double use 
of the sepulchre and the temple, — nothing being more 
common in all nations than to bury distinguished men 
in places consecrated by the rites of divine worship. If 
Cheops, Suphis, or whoever else was the founder of the 
great pyramid, intended it only for his tomb, what occa- 
sion was there, says Dr Shaw, for such a naiTOw sloping 
entrance into it, or for the well, as it is called, at the 
bottom, or for the lower chamber with a large niche or 
hole in the eastern wall of it, or for the long narrow 
cavities in the sides of the large upper room, which like- 
wise is incrusted all over with the finest marble, — or for 
the antechambers and the lofty gallery, with benches 
on each side, that introduce us into it I As the whole 
of the Egyptian theology was clothed in mj'sterious em- 

* Asiatic Researches, vol. iii. p. 439. 


blems and figures, it seems reasonable to suppose that all CHAP. rv. 
these turnings, apartments, and secrets in architecture, jntri^es of 
were intended for some nobler jjurpose, — for the cata- tiie interior. 
combs or burying-places are plain vaulted chambers 
hewTi out of the natural rock, — and that the deity rather, 
which was tj'pified in the outward form of this pUe, 
was to be worshipped within.* 

The present aspect of the pjTamids renders it doubtful Probable 
whether they were ever fully completed, or whether the n"eM"of th*e" 
apparent dilapidation of the external parts ought not to pyramids. 
be altogether ascribed to the uijuries of the atmosphere 
and the hands of barbarian conquerors. It is presumed 
that a pile of this description was not regarded as en- 
tii-ely finished untU it was coated over with polished 
stone, so as to fill up the vacancies occasioned by the 
layers of the buildhig, and to render the surface quite 
smooth and imiform from the foundation to the summit. 
Herodotus states, in the clearest terms, that, after the 
structure was raised to its full height, the artisans began 
to finish it from the top downwards. In the second py- Conflrma- 
ramid, accordingly, which bears the name of Cephrenes, account of 
a considerable portion of the original casing still re- Herodotus. 
mains ; confirming the accuracy of the ancient historian 
as to the general plan of aU such edifices, and affording, 
at the same time, the means of understanding that part 
of his narrative in which he asserts that a great quantity 
of the stone was brought from the Arabian side of the 
Nile, and even from the neighbourhood of the Cataracts. Site of tha 
It has been ascertamed by modem travellers that the main ^"^''"*^ 
body of the huge masses now under consideration is com- 
posed of rocks still found in the immediate vicinity ; we 
must therefore infer that the granite and porph}Ty used 
for coating the exterior, as well as for the decorations of 
the chambers within, are the materials so particularly de- 
scribed by the Halicamassian, and which Strabo and Pliny 
more usually designate as precious stones and marble.t 

* Travels, vol. ii. p. .201 . 

t It may be mentioned that every stone which admitted of 




Number of 



produced by 
til em 

of the largest. 

The number of pjTamids scattered over Egj^t is very 
great ; but by far the most remarkable are those at 
Djizeh, Sakhara, and Dashour. The first of these places, 
which is situated about ten miles from the western bank 
of the Nile, and nearly in the latitude of Grand Cairo, 
is distinguished by possessing the three principal edifices 
described by Herodotus, and which are stUl regarded as 
the finest monuments of this class in any part of the 
world. It is noticed by every author who, from personal 
observation, has described these wonderful works of art, 
that the sense of sight is much deceived in the first 
attempt to appreciate their distance and magnitude. 
Though removed several leagues from the sj^ectator, 
they appear to be quite at hand ; and it is not until he 
has travelled some mUes in a direct line towards them 
that he becomes sensible both of their vast bulk and also 
of the pure atmosphere through which they are viewed. 
They are situated on a platform of rock about a hundred 
and fifty feet above the level of the surrounding desert, 
— a cu-cumstance which at once contributes to their 
being well seen, and also to the discrepancy that still 
prevails among the most intelligent travellers as to their 
actual height. 

The largest stands on an elevation free all round, on 
which account the accumulation of sand in contact with 
it is less than might have been apprehended. It has, 
however, suffered much from human violence, immense 
heaps of broken stones ha^dng fallen down on each side, 
wliich foiin a high moimd towards the middle of the 
base. The comers are pretty clear, where the founda- 
tion is readily discovered, particularly at the north-west 
angle ; but it is impossible to see straight along the line 
of the base on account of these heaps of rubbish. Hence, 
as has been already suggested, the difficulty of making 
an exact measurement, and the frequent disagreement 
of the results ; it being impracticable, without removing 

a. fine polish and shone in the light was called mai'ble, from 
uacfj^ai^iiy, to shine or glisten. 


the sand and fallen stones, to run a straight Ime all the chap, iv 
way in contact with the buildmg. Dr Richardson paced j, — . 
one side, at a httle distance from the Avail, and found it base. 
two hundred and forty-two steps ; whence he conjectures 
that the extent of seven hundred feet, usually assigned 
to it, is not far from the ti'uth.* 

The entrance into it is on the north side, and is nearly Entrance. 
m the centre, about an equal distance from each angle ; 
being, at the same time, elevated about thu-ty feet above 
the base, probably that it might be more difficult for a 
conqueror to discover it, and less hable to be blocked up 
with sand. The ascent to it is over a heap of stones and Accumu- 
rubbLsh that have either fallen from the Pyramid, or J.^^'bi'sh'^ 
been forced out and throAvn down in the various efforts 
made at successive peiiods to find a passage hito the 
interior. This heap at present rises considerably above 
the enti-ance, which is a small orifice not more than three 
feet and a half square : it is lined above and below, and 
on either side, with broad flat blocks of red granite, 
smooth and highly pohshed. The flags in the bottom 
of the passage are formed with alternate depressions and 
elevations, in order to afford a firm footing to the person 
descending ; but this, it is presumed, is a modem opera- 
tion, because the depressions are not smooth and polished 
lilce the rest of the stones. 

After advancing nearly a hundred feet into the entrance, jhe queen's 
which slopes downward at an angle of about twenty-six ciiamber. 
degrees, the explorer finds an opening on the right hand, 
which conducts hun up an inclined plane to the queen's 
chamber, as travellers have agreed to call it, — an apart- 
ment seventeen feet long, fourteen feet wide, and twelve 
feet high, to the point on which the roof is suspended. 
Ascending a similar passage, bat somewhat steeper than 
the first, he perceives another chamber of larger dimen- 
sions, being thirty-seven feet two inches long, seventeen 
feet two inches wide, and about twenty feet in height. 

' Travels along the Mediterranean and Parts adjacent, voL i. 
p. 119. 



riie king's 

of other 

CHAP. IV. This is denominated the king's chamber, — ^but upon 
no Letter authority that we can discover than the 
caprice of tourists now converted into a local tradition. 
Its magnificence, however, entitles it in some degree to 
the distinction which it has obtained. It is lined all 
round with large slabs of highly-polished granite, reach- 
ing from the floor to the ceiling ; this last being formed 
of nine immense flags which stretch from wall to wall. 

Sarcophagiat. Towards the Avest end of the room stands the sarcopha- 
gus, which likewise consists of red grapite higlily polished, 
but without either sculpture or hieroglyphs. Its length 
is seven feet six mches, while the depth and width are 
each three feet three inches. There is no lid, nor was 
there any thing found in it except a few fragments of 
the stone with which the chamber is decorated. 

As tliis room does not reach beyond the centre of the 
pjTamid, it has been suggested that there are other 
passages leading to other chambers in communication 
with it ; the entrance to which would, it is very likely, 
be found by removing some of the granite slabs which 
serve as wainscoting to the walls. To present to the 
eye a uniform surface in the interior of an apailment 
was one of the defaces usually employed by an arcliitect 
in old times when he wished to conceal from an ordinary 
observer the approach to a secret retreat, — reserving to 
himself and liis employer the knowledge of the particular 
stone which covered the important orifice, as well as the 
means of obtaining a ready access. 

A third chamber, still higher in the body of the 
pjTamid than either of the two just mentioned, was 
discovered hy Mr Da%dson, who, about sixty years ago, 
was British consul at Cairo. Having on one of his visits 
observed a hole in the top of the gallery, he resolved to 
ascertain the object of it, and whether it led to any 
apartment wliich had not yet been described. He was 
able to creep in, though with much difficulty, and when 
he had advanced a little Avay, he discovered what he 
supposed to be the end of the approach. His surprise 
was great, when he reached it, to find to the right a 

of a tliird 


straight passage into a long, broad, but low place, whicii CHAP. TV. 
he knew, as well by the length as the direction of the j^^ g^and 
entry he had come in at, to be immediately above the appearance, 
large room. The stones of granite which are at the top 
of the latter form the bottom of this, but are uneven, 
being of unequal thickness. The room is four feet longer 
than the one beneath ; in the latter you see only seven 
stones, and a half of one on each side of them ; but in 
that above, the nine are entire, the two halves resting 
on the wall at each end. The breadth is equal with 
that of the room below. The covering of this, as of the 
other, is beautiful granite, but it is composed of eight 
stones instead of nine, the number in the lower room.* 

The same room was entered and explored a few years I'^t®'" ^^P'" 
ago by Mr Caviglia, — to Avhose enterprising spii'it the 
antiquaries of Egji^t are under great obligations, — but 
without adding any tiling to our knowledge either of its 
stnicture or intention. He remarks that the sides of 
the chamber were coated with red granite of the finest 
polish ; and he ascertained that the unevenness of the 
floor was occasioned by its being formed of the indi\ddual 
blocks of syenite wliich constitute the roof of the chamber 
below ; hence they must be wedged in on the principle 
of the arch. 

But it is extremely doubtful, even after these laborious Evidences 
endeavours, whether we have yet made farther progress expioiatio.a 
in dissecting the sti-ucture of this pyramid than was 
attained by the Greeks and Romans two thousand years 
ago ; for it is deserving of notice that every recess which 
has been explored in modern times bears marks of 
having been examined by former adventurers. We find, 
besides, that the narrow entrance into it was known to 
Strabo, which, he tells us, had a stone placed at the 
mouth to be removed at pleasure. The same author, 
likewise, as well as Herodotus, was acquainted with the 
subterranean chambers, and Plmy has left a description 

• Jlemoirs relatinp; to European and Asiatic Turkey, edited from 
MS. Jovirnals by Robert Walpole, M.A., p. 354. 


CHAP. IV. of the well. It is true that they declined to enter into 
CauseTof many particulars which could hardly faU to have met 
the silence of their observation,— an omission which we are justified, 
older miters. ^^ j^^^^ ^ ^^^ ^^^^ ^^ Herodotus, in attributing to cer- 
tain superstitious notions of their sanctity and mysterious 
Narrative of The account given by Mr Davison of his descent into 
Mr Davison, ^-^q .^.g]]^ ^ow alluded to, is so interesting, that we cannot 
withhold from the reader an outline of his proceedings. 
Conceiving it to be very deep, he provided himself with 
a large quantity of rope, one end of which he tied round 
his waist ; and, letting do%vn a lantern attached to a 
small cord, he resolutely prepared to follow. With no 
small difficulty he prevailed on two of his servants and 
three Arabs to hold the line, — the latter assuring him 
that there were ghosts below, and that he must not 
hope to return. Taking with him a few sheets of paper, 
a compass, a measure, and another lighted candle, he 
Descent of commenced the descent, and soon reached the bottom of 
the shaft. ^j^g £j,g^ ^^g^ Qj. g|^^^£^^ jjgj.g i^g f^^j^^^ ^^ ^Yie south 

side, at the distance of about eight feet from the place 
where he landed, a second opening, which descended 
perpendicularly to the depth of five feet only ; and, at 
four feet ten inches from the bottom of this, he dis- 
covered a thu'd shaft, the mouth of which was nearly 
blocked up with a large stone, leaving an opening barely 
sufficient to allow a man to pass. Here he dropped 
do^\^l his lantern, not only with the view of ascertauung 
to what depth he was about to proceed, but also to de- 
termine whether the air were pernicious or otherwise. 
The shaft, however, was so tortuous that the candle 
soon became invisible ; but the consul was not to be 
Superstitious discouraged, as nothing less than a journey to the bottom 
Aj*abL°' ^^'^ would satisfy his eager curiosity. His main difficulty 
arose from the superstitious dread of the Arabs, who 
could hardly be prevailed upon to go down and hold the 
rt)pe. After many prayers, and threats, and promises 
of money, and of all the treasure which might be found 
in the weU, the avarice of one man so far overcame his^ 


terror that he ventured to descend ; though, on reaching chap, rv 
the bottom, " he stared about him pale and trembling, — 
and appeared more like a spectre than a human being." 

Mr Davison now pushed forward with the rope round Depth of 
his body, being convinced, from the distant view of the *'.'^ second 
lantern which he had let down, that this well was some- 
what deeper than the first. Having proceeded a little 
farther than half way to the spot Avhere the candle had 
rested, he came to a grotto about fifteen feet long, four 
or five wide, and nearly the height of a man. From 
this place the third shaft or well was sloping ; and, by 
throAving down a stone, he ascertained it to be of much 
greater depth than the others. But, stUl resolved to 
persevere, he pushed the lantern a little before hiin, and 
set out afresh on his journey, calling to the Ai'ab to 
loosen the rope gently, and availing himself of little 
holes made in the rock, obviously for the purpose of 
aiding a descent. At length the shaft beginning to 
return a little more to the perpendicular, he an-ived 
speedily at the bottom, where he found all farther pass- 
age precluded by a large accumulation of sand and 

Having reached this point he began to reflect on two Dangers of 
circumstances wliich had not before occuiTed to him, ^^^ attempt 
either of which would have agitated weaker nerves. 
The first was, that the multitude of bats which he had 
disturbed might put out his candle ; and the second, 
that the immense stone on the mouth of the pit might 
shp do-«-n and close the passage for ever. On looking Evidence 
about the bottom, he found a rope-ladder, which, though ''f previous 

• ■Lii-i- ^1 Visitors. 

it had lam there sixteen years, was as fresh and strong 
as if perfectly new. It had been used, as is conjectured, 
by 'Mv Wood, — the author of a work on the nihis of 
Balbec and Palmyra, — to assist his progress do^\'nwards ; 
but he, it is concluded, must have stopped short at the 
grotto. When Mr Davison, on liis return, had reached 
the bottom of the first shaft, the candles fell, and went 
out ; upon which, the poor Arab thought himself lost. 
He laid hold of the rope, as his master was about to 




Terror of the 
Aiab guide. 

of whole 

of Pliny. 

M. Caviglia'3 

ascend, declaring that he would rather have his hraiiis 
blown out than be left alone there with the devil. *' I 
therefore permitted liini," says the consul, " to go before, 
and, though it was much more difficult to ascend than 
to descend, I know not how it was, but he scrambled 
up a hundred times more quickly than he had come 

The depth of the first shaft was twenty-two feet ; 
of the second, twenty-nine ; and of the third, ninety- 
nine ; which, with the five feet between the first and 
second, makes the whole descent one hundred and 

It is somewhat remarkable, that the dimensions as- 
signed to the well by Pliny were eighty-six cubits, — 
an approximation to the truth which must remove all 
doubt fi'om the mind of every candid reader that the 
honour of detecting the intricacies of the Great P^Tamid 
was not reserved for the modems. The Romans appear 
to have taken a considerable interest in the architectural 
antiquities of Eg^-pt, the names of their favourite princes 
being inscribed on the monuments ; and hence it might 
have been inferred that this, one of the greatest works 
of the ancient world, would not fail to attract their 

One of the latest and most complete surveys made of 
the liidden caverns of this pjTamid, is that accomplished 
by Mr Caviglia, the spirited foreigner already mentioned. 
In his first attempt to sound the depths of the celebrated 
well, he descended as far as ]Mr Davison had done, and 
with nearly similar results. But he was by no means 

• In the letter to INI. Varsy, of which the above is an abridjr- 
ment, ^Ir Davison remarks, " Vous avez beau dire que j'aurais du 
regarder comme honorable d'etre enseveli dans un de ces fameux 
monumens qui n'ont ete destines que pour les grands rois. Je vous 
avoue franchement, monsieur, que jen'avais pas la moindre ambition 
a cet egard. Bien au contraire, j'etais cent fois plus content de 
sortir et revoir le jour." 

t See Walpole's ^lemoirs, p. 350, for the narrative of Mr Davi- 
son ; and Quarterly Review, vol. xix. p. b92, which contains an 
original communication from Mr Salt. 


satisfied \Yith the issue of his labour. Observmg that chap, iv 
the ground under his feet gave a hollow sound, he sus- clearance of 
pected that there must be some concealed outlet. He the depart- 
accordingly determined to resume operations ; and with ™®°'' 
this view he hii-ed several Arabs, whom he employed in 
drawing up the rubbish from the bottom with baskets 
and cords. In a short time, however, owing to the ex- 
treme reluctance of these people to work, he was com- 
pelled to suspend his undertaking until an order from 
the Kaiya-bey was procured, which had the effect of 
subduing their indolence, and, to a certain degree, of 
removmg their prejudices. It is not, indeed, surprising Reluctance 
that the natives should have manifested reluctance to workmen. 
labour in circumstances so appalling ; bemg confined in 
a place where, owing to the impurity of the atmosphere, 
no light would bum longer than half an hour, and 
where the heat was so intense as to threaten suffocation. 
At length, in fact, it became so intolerable that one Arab 
was carried up nearly dead, and several others, on their 
ascending to the surface, famted away ; so that, at last, 
in defiance of the command laid upon them, they almost 
entu-ely abandoned the task, declarmg that they were 
willing to work, bvit not to die for him. 

Thus opposed and disappointed, Mr Caviglia next Clearance ot 
turned his attention to the clearing of the principal entiyJ ^ 
entry or passage into the pyramid, which, from time 
immemorial, had been so blocked up as to oblige those 
who ventiu-ed within its orifice to creep on theu' hands 
and knees. His chief object in this undertaking was to 
improve the ventilation of the interior, — a purpose which 
he not onl}^ carried into etfect, but, moreover, in the 
course of his labours, made the unexpected discovery nnexpected 
that the main passage leading from the entry did not '^^'^^'^^''■'y- 
tei-minate in the maimer asserted by MaUlet, and be- 
lieved by all his successors. On the contrary, ha'v'ing 
removed several large masses of calcareous stone and 
granite, apparentl)'- placed there to obstract all farther 
progress, he foimd that it still continvied in the same 
inclined plane downwards, was of the same dimensions. 



Reward of 
liis labours. 

CHAP. IV'. and had its sides worked with the same cave as in the 
iiidefeihcabie portion abovc, though filled up nearly to the top with 
perseverance, earth and fragments of rock. After clearing it out to 
the length of a hundred and fifty feet, the air became 
again so impure, and the heat so suffocating, that he 
had once more the same difficulties to encounter with 
regard to the Arabs. Even his own health was at this 
time visibly unpaired, and he was attacked with a spit- 
ting of blood ; but nothing could induce him to desist 
fi-om his interesting researches. 

After the lapse of the third month from the tune at 
which he began his toils, he had excavated as far as two 
hundred feet in the new passage without any thing par- 
ticular occuiTuig, when, shortly aftei-wards, a door on 
the right hand was discovered, from which, in the course 
of a few hours, a strong smell of sulphur was perceived 
to issue. Mr Caviglia having now recollected that, 
when at the bottom of the well in his first enterprise, 
he had burned some sulphur for the purpose of purify- 
ing the ah", conceived it probable that this door-way 
might communicate with it, — an idea which, in a little 
time, he had the pleasure of seeing realized, by disco- 
vering that it opened at once upon the bottom of the 
well, where he found the baskets, cords, and other 
implements, which had been left there on his recent 
attempt at a farther excavation. This discovery was so 
far valuable as it afforded a complete circulation of air 
along the whole passage and up the shaft of the well, 
and thereby obviated all danger for the future, arising 
from the noxious condition of the atmosphere.'-' 


* It is amusing to contrast the indefatigable exertions of this 
individual, whose sole motives were derived from an enlightened 
curiosity and a desire to benefit the literary world, with the cautious 
procedure of Colonel Coutelle, one of Bonaparte's military «ai"ans .' 
— " J'arrivai a I'extremite, mais non pas a point ou s'etaient arretes 
les ouvriers : le fond etait rempli de terre et de cailloux roules ; j'en 
remplis une de mes poches ; ensuite je pris toutes les mesures doni 
i'avais besoin. Mais deja. ma himiere etait pale ; ma respiration 
plus genee ; le thermometre de Reaumur etait audcssus de 26 de- 
gres," &;c. Aher filling one of his pockets with the rubbish which 


But the passage did not terminate at the door-way chap. iv. 
which opened upon the bottom of the well. Continuing centraT 
to the distance of twenty-three feet beyond it in the apartment of 
same angle of inclination, it became naiTower, and took "^ ^*™' 
a horizontal direction for about twenty-eight feet far- 
ther, where it opened into a spacious apartment imme- 
diately under the central point of the pyramid. This 
new chamber is sixty-six feet long by twenty-seven 
broad, with a flat roof; and, when first entered, was 
found nearly filled with large stones and rubbish, which 
Mr Caviglia succeeded in removing. The platform of itsappear- 
the floor, which is dug out of the rock, is irregular, ance. 
nearly one-half of the length from the east end being 
level, and about fifteen feet from the ceiling ; while in 
the middle it descends five feet lower, in which there ij 
a hoUow space, bearing all the appearance of the com- 
mencement of a well or shaft. From tliis point it rises 
to the western end ; so that, at the extremity, there is 
scarcely room between the floor and the roof for a man 
to stand upright, the whole chamber having the appear- 
ance of an imfinished excavation. Mr Salt, however, is ^^^ g^jj,,^ 
disposed to think, after a careful comparison of it with opinion 
other subterranean apartments which have been dis- 
figured by time and the rude hands of curious vTsiters, 
that it may once have been highly wrought, and used, 
perhaps, for the performance of solemn and sacred mys- 

impeded his progress into the secret apartments of the pjTamid, the 
gallant colonel withdrew, utterino; imprecations against the detest- 
able atmosphere, which at once affected his breathing and raised the 
thermometer. — Descrip. de VEgypte, Antiquites, vol. ii. p. 39. 

The same writer informs us that the French, hoping to find many 
antiquities fresh and undesecrated in the interior of a pyramid not 
yet touched, adopted the resolution of demolishing one of the third 
or foiirth class from top to bottom. It is stated that every layer of 
stone was from a yard to a yard and a half in depth, and that all 
the blocks, being of a dimension proportioned to their thickness, 
weighed about twelve thousand pounds (6000 kilogrammes) a-piece. 
But. after having advanced about half-way in the process of demo- 
lition, they were obliged to relinquish the enterprise ; leaving, say» 
the colonel, the fruit which would have indemnified their toils to be 
reaped by those who were to come after them. 





Roman cha- 
racters on 
tlie rock. 

of other 

teries. Some Roman characters, rudely foi-med, had 
been marked with the flame of a candle on the rock, 
part of wliich having mouldered away, rendered the 
words illegible. The same gentleman had flattered 
himself that this chamber would turn out to be the one 
described by Herodotus as contaioing the tomb of Cheops, 
which was insxilated by a stream drawn from the Nile ; 
but the want of an iidet for the sacred fluid, and the 
elevation of the floor thirty feet above the level of the 
river at its highest inundation, put an end to this delu- 
sive opinion. From an expression of Strabo, however, 
purporting that the passage from the entrance leads 
directly do^vn to the chamber which contains the sarco- 
phagus, he thinks, and perhaps justly, that this apai-tment 
was the only one kno'mi to the Greek geographer. 

On the south side of tliis spacious excavation there is 
a passage just ■\\'ide and high enough for a man to creep 
along on his hands and knees, continuing horizontally 
in the rock for fifty-five feet ; but there it abruptly 
tei-minates. Another opening at the eastern end of the 
chamber commences with a kmd of arch, and runs 
about forty feet into the solid rock on which the pyra- 
mid is built. A thu'd passage is mentioned, but so ob- 
scurely that we cannot ascertain either its du-ection or 
dimensions. It is not, however, to be imagined that 
these passages had no object, t)r that they originally 
Their imper- terminated at the point where the curiosity of modem 
gation.^ ^^ '' travellers meets a check fi-om the accumulation of rub- 
bish, or, perhaps, from the intervention of a regular 
portcullis, such as Belzoni encountered in the second 
p}Tamid. Dr Richardson, indeed, insinuates that the 
avenues in question have not been actually explored by 
sevei*al writers who have thought proper to describe 
them, — a charge which, Ave are satisfied, does not apply 
to Caviglia, whose exertions were only Imiitcd by the 
utmost bounds of human energy and perseverance.* 

• The latest notice relative to the pyramid of Cheops is to be 
found in the following extract, taken from the Transactions of the 


Before we proceed to some more general observations chap, iv, 
on the history and compai"ative magnitude of the pyra- piscoveri 
mids, we shall present to the reader a short account of of Beizoui. 
the discoveries made by Belzoni in the interior of that 
which bears the name of Cephrenes. 

As Herodotus, whose fidehty has been generally ap- influence of 
proved by the investigations of more recent times, gave of Herodums 
assurance that there were no chambers in this edifice, a 
long time passed without any attempt being made to 
penetrate its outer walls. In fact, such an undertaking 
was regarded as equally romantic and impracticable. 

Royal Society of Literature, and contained in two letters from 
Colonel Vyse to I\Ir Hamilton : — 

In October 1836, Mr Caviglia was employed by Colonel Vyse, 
Colonel Campbell, and Mr Shaw, to conduct certain operations in 
the pyramid?, which commenced on the 21st November, and con- 
tinued till 22d May last. About 300 Arabs, men and children, 
were engaged to clear away the rubbish. 

The results were, the discovery of three new chambers in the 
great pyramid, and the excavation of a remarkable mummy-pit in 
the vicinity. The newly-opened chambers are all situated above 
each other ; the first being immediately over that known as Davi- 
son's chamber. This apartment is thirty-eight feet six inches from 
east to west, and seventeen feet one inch from north to south. It 
is called the Wellington Chamber. The second is called Nelson's, 
and is thirty-eight feet nine inches by sixteen feet eight inches. 
The third, named after Lady Arbuthnot, who was on the spot at 
the time of its discovery, measures thirty -seven feet four inches by 
sixteen feet four inches. The height of all these chambers is va- 
riable. In each case the same blocks of granite form both the ceil- 
ing of the chamber below and the floor of that above. There are 
passages and entresols between. The object of this succession of 
chambers Colonel Vyse supposes to have been to lessen the super- 
incumbent weight above the king's chamber, the only apartment, in 
the proper sense of the term, in the pyramid. 

Colonel Vyse entertained sanguine expectations of discovering 
the souterrain in the second pyramid, — that of Cephrenes, men. 
tioned by Herodotus as surrounded by the Nile. The tomb — to 
which the name of Colonel Campbell is attached — is a large square 
excavation, including in its centre an oblong building, perfectly 
arched, of very firm masonry, which was found to contam a sarco- 
phagus, some amphorae, and other relics. Among certain hiero- 
fl)-phs inscribed on the side of the square, is the cartouche of 
'sammeticus II. ; and there being another arch of this king at Sak- 
hara, mentioned by Mr Wilkinson, the fact is established beyond 
doubt that the arch was known in Egypt at least six hundred years 
prior to our era. 




attempts of 
the French 

Success of 




The French philosophers, who accompanied the invad- 
ing army led by Bonaparte, made several endeavours to 
find an entrance, but, perceiving no trace in the building 
which could encourage the belief that it had ever been 
perforated, they left it in despair. The resolution of 
Belzoni, however, a private individual, without any other 
aid than his owti resources, achieved a conquest over this 
mystery of ancient art, which the power and ingenuity 
of a great nation had relinquished as beyond the reach of 
human means. His success in detecting the sepulchral 
labjTinths of Thebes inflamed him at once with the de- 
sire and the confidence of discovering a passage into the 
secret chambers of Cephrenes, the reputed founder of the 
second pjTramid. 

His first attempt was not attended with an adequate 
degree of success ; while the labour and expense which 
it entailed upon him were so great as would have cooled 
the ardour of anj^ less zealous antiquarj^. He began by 
forcing a passage, which he was soon obliged to abandon 
as equally hopeless to himself and dangerous to the per- 
sons employed. But this disappointment only increased 
his desire to accomplish an object on which he had 
staked his happiness as well as his reputation. Observ- 
ing minutely the exterior of the Great PjTamid, he 
satisfied himself that the passage was not placed exactly 
in the middle of the building, but ran in a straight line 
to the eastern side of what is called the king's chamber ; 
which being in the centre of the pjTamid, he conjectured 
that the entrance must be as far from the middle of the 
face as is the distance from the centre of the chamber to 
the eastern end of it. Having made this clear and sim- 
ple observation, he concluded, that, if there were any 
chamber in the second pyramid, the orifice could not be at 
the spot where he had begun his excavation, but, calcu- 
lating by the position of the passage in the first, nearly 
thirty feet farther east. 

Encouraged by these new views, he returned to his 
task, and was greatly delighted to observe that, at the 
very place where he intended to recommence operations, 


tliere was a hollow on the surface of the building. Any chap. iv. 
traveller, says he, who shall hereafter visit the pyramids, ' 
may plainly perceive this concavity above the true en- 
trance. Summoning his Arabs, he forthwith resumed Uesnmption 
his toils ; and so correct was his measurement that he ° eseau 
did not deviate more than two feet from the mouth of 
the passage which was to admit him into the recesses of 
this vast edifice. The native workmen were indeed as 
sceptical as ever, entertaining not the slightest expecta- 
tion that any approach would ever be discovered, and 
occasionally muttering then- opinion of him in the ex- 
pressive term magnoon, which, in their language, denotes 
madman or fool. 

After clearing away a great deal of rubbish, and cut- Opening of 
ting through massy stones, he had the satisfaction to see [^.^nce.^' '^"" 
the edge of a block of granite, — the material used for 
casing the passages in the pyi-amid of Cheops, — inclining 
downward at the same angle as in the latter building, 
and pointing towards the centre. On the following day 
three large slabs were discovered, one on each side, and 
the third on the top, — indicating very distinctly that the 
object of his search was now about to be realized. In a 
few hours, accordingly, the right entrance was opened, — 
proving to be a passage four feet liigh, and three feet six 
inches wide, formed of granite, and descending a hundred 
and four feet towards the centre, at an angle of twenty- 
six degrees. Nearly aU tliis passage was filled with large 
stones which had fallen from the upper part, and, as the 
floor slopes downwards, they had slid on till some larger 
than the rest stopped the way. 

The next portion of his task was to remove this rub- stone 
bish, wliich extended to the very entrance of the cham- Portcullis. 
ber. At length he reached a portcullis, which, being a 
fixed block of stone, at first sight appeared to obstruct 
all farther progress into the interior. " It stared me in 
the face," says he, " and said ne plus ultra, — putting an 
end, as I thought, to all my projects ;" for it made a 
close joint with the groove at each side, and on the top it 
seemed as fii-m as the rock itself which formed the pass- 



Discovery of 
its true cliar- 

Tritmrph of 

CHAP. IV. age. On a close inspection, however, he perceived that, 
at the bottom, it was raised about eight inches from the 
lower part of the groove, which was cut beneath to re- 
ceive it ; and he found by tliis cu-cumstance that the 
barrier before him was nothing more than a large slab 
of granite, one foot three inches tliick. Having observed 
a small aperture at the top, he tlirust a straw into it 
upwards of three feet, — a discovery which convinced 
liim that there was a vacuum prepared to receive the 
portcullis. Tlie raising of it, indeed, was a work of no 
small difficulty. As soon, however, as it was elevated 
high enough for a man to pass, an Arab entered with a 
candle, and announced that the place within was very 
fine. A little more room enabled Mr Belzoni to squeeze 
his person through, when, he exclaims, " after thirty 
days I had the pleasure of finding myself in the way to 
the central chamber of one of the two great pyramids 
of Eg}^t, which have long been the admiration of be- 

As liis main object was to reach the centre of the 
building, he advanced, in that direction, along a passage 
cut out of the solid rock, six feet in height, and six feet 
six inches broad. At length he reached a door, at the 
centre of a large chamber. " I walked slowly two or 
three paces, and then stood still to contemplate the place 
where I was. Whatever it might be, I cei-tainly con- 
sidered myself in the centre of that pyramid which, from 
time immemorial, had been the subject of the obscure 
conjectures of many hundred travellers, both ancient 
Anticipations and modem. l\Iy torch, formed of a few wax candles, 
on entering ^^^.^ -^^^ ^ f^:^^^ jjgl^^ . j could, however, clearly distin- 
guish the principal objects. I naturally turned my eyes 
to the west end of the chamber, looking for the sarco- 
phagus, which I strongly expected to see in the same 
situation as that in the first pyramid ; but I was disap- 
pointed when I saw nothing there. Tlie chamber has a 
pointed or sloping ceiling, and many of the stones had 

The sarco- 

" Researches and Operations in Egypt and Nubia, vol. i. p. 417. 


been removed from their places, evidently by some one chap. IV 
in search of treasure. On my advancing toward the 
west end, I was agreeably sui-prised to find. that there 
was a sarcophagus buried on a level with the floor." 

Upon examining more minutelj' the chamber into Dimensions 
which he had entered, he found it to be forty-six feet in f J.!"^ *™* 
length, sixteen feet three inches wide, and twenty-three 
feet six inches high. It is hewn out of the solid rock 
from the floor to the roof, which last is composed of 
large slabs of calcareous stone meeting in the centre at 
an angle corresponding to that of the pyramid itself. 
The sarcophagus is eight feet long, three feet sis inches xhe ?arco- 
wide, and two feet three inches deep in the inside. It is P'lafrus. 
surrounded by large blocks of granite, apparently to 
prevent its removal, which could not be effected without 
great labour. The lid had been di-awn to one side ; so 
that the receptacle, be it fount or grave, was half-open. 
It is manufactured of the verj^ finest granite ; but, like 
the other in the PjTamid of Cheops, it presents not a 
single hieroglyph. Inspecting the inside solely with 
the view of finding some inscription which would throw 
light on the history and intention of tliis mighty edifice, 
he did not at first observe that there were bones mixed Bones of a 
with the sand and gravel which it contained. These ^^^ 
fragments of an annual body being afterwards sent to 
London, were ascertained to belong to the bovine species, 
and have been very generally supposed to be the remains 
of a sacred bull, — an object of veneration among the 
ancient Egyptians, On the sides of the chamber, which 
were carefully examined, he observed many scrawls 
executed with charcoal ; all of which, however, were in 
a character quite unknown to him, and abeady become 
so faint that they were in some places nearly illegible, 
and rubbed off on the slightest touch. 

On the wall at the western end of the chamber he Arabic in- 
perceived an inscription, which has been translated as 
follows : — 

" The Master Mohammed Ahmed, lapicide, has opened 
them ; and the Master Othman attended this (opening) 



tion of the 

CHAP. IV. and the King Ali Mohammed, from the begmning to the 
closmg up."* 

Mr Belzoni admits that the letters were far from be- 
ing distinct. The transcriber was a Copt, whom he in- 
duced to go from Cairo for the purpose, not having suf- 
ficient confidence in his own pen. He adds, however, 
that not being satisfied with his protestations of accuracy, 
though the inscription was copied under his own eyes, 
he invited other persons, who were esteemed the best 
Arabic scholars in the co\mtry, to lend their aid, and 
particularly to compare the transcript with the original 
on the wall. They found it all perfectly correct and 
intelligible, except the concluding word, which was ac- 
knowledged to be obscure ; but, says he, if it be con- 
sidered how much that word resembles the right one, 
we shall find a good sense, and the whole inscription 
made out. The circumstance, too, supposed to be here 
recorded, — that the pyramid was closed up after haAing 
been opened by the agents of King Ali Mohammed, — • 
corresponds exactly to the facts of the case, and affords a 
strong corroboration of the conjectural emendation pro- 
posed by the translator. 

It is remarkable that in this pyramid, as well as in the 
larger one, there is a pit or shaft which descends to a 
lower part of the building. At the bottom of thi^ open- 
ing there were so many stones as nearly to choke up its 
entrance ; but after removing these, i\Ir Belzoni found 
the passage running towards the north, as formerly, at 
an angle of twenty-six degrees. It continued in this 
direction, and with the same slope do-vATiwards, forty- 
eight feet and a half, where it joined a horizontal pass- 
age fifty-five feet in length, still running north. Half- 
way up this avenue, on the right, is a recess eleven feet 
ong and six deep. On the left, opposite to it, is another 


* This is the version of Mr Salame, who says, " the Arabic to 
which 1 gave the meaning of these last words, ' to the closing up' is 
not spelled correctly in the paper I saw, — a fault which 1 attrihuw 
to the transcriber from the stone " 


entry twentj'-two feet in length, with a descent of chap. iv. 
twenty-six degrees towards the west. Before he pro- second shaft. 
ceeded any farther, he went do^\^l tliis passage, where he 
found a chamber tliirty-two feet long, nine feet nine 
inches Avide, and eight feet six inches in height. This 
apartment contains many small blocks of stone, some not 
more than two feet in length. It has a pointed roof like 
that before mentioned, though it is cut out of the solid 
rock ; and on the walls and ceiling are some unkno'^NTi 
inscriptions similar to those in the upper chamber. 

Reascending to the horizontal passage, he discovered Horizontal 
at the end of it a portcullis, which must have originally p^^''^*'- 
possessed the same construction as the one already de- 
scribed ; but the plate of granite, which had served as a 
door, was taken down, and is still to be seen vmder the 
rubbish which encumbers the approach. Beyond this 
point he entered into a lane which runs forty-eight feet 
in a dii'ection parallel to the one above, and, in fact, ap- 
pears to issue from the pyramid near its base. If this 
supposition be well founded, it will follow that the Mo- 
nument of Cephrenes has two entrances, — an inference, Inferences 
we presume, which might be extended to that of Cheops, ^'^sges e 
where there ai'e several passages without any outlet 
hitherto discovered. The immense mass of broken 
stones and sand, which surrounds the foundation of the 
larger edifice, has all along prevented such a minute 
examination of its lower parts as might have enabled the 
scientific antiquary to connect the internal structure with 
the general plan and uses of the building. Hence it is 
extremely probable that apertures will be found in all 
the four sides conducting to the centre, at different angles 
of inclination, and establishing a communication among 
the various chambers which those huge structures contain. 

After these details, it is impossible to refrain from an Perseverance 
» , . , . • , 1 1 ,11 an" ability of 

expression oi admiration so justly due to the perse ver- Beizoni 
ance and ability of Mr Beizoni. It was truly observed 
by ^Ir Salt, that the opening of this pyramid had long 
been considered an object of so hopeless a nature that it 
is difficult to conceive how any person could be found 



CHAP. IV. sanguine enough to make the ak'empt ; and, even after 
the lahorious discover}' of the forced entrance, it requii-ed 
great resolution and confidence in his ovm views to in- 
duce him to continue the operation, when it hecame evi- 
dent that the enterprise of his predecessors, possessed of 

His descrip- greater means, had completely failed. Of the discovery 
itself he has given a very clear description, and hia 
drawings present a perfect idea of the entrances, passages, 
and chambers. Of the labour of the imdertaking no 
one can form an idea. Notwithstanding the masses of 
stone which he had to remove, and the hardness of the 
materials which impeded his progress, the whole was 
effected entirely at his oaati risk and expense.* 

* V^ hat must be the feelings of every candid person ■who reads 
the following statement, which we give in the words of the dis- 
coverer himself : — 

" One thing more I must observe respecting the Count de For- 
bin. On his return from Thebes, I met him at Cairo, in the house 
of the Austrian consul. I had begun the task of opening the py- 
ramids, and had already discovered the false passage. The Count 
requested, in a sort of sarcastic manner, when I had succeeded in 
opening the pyramid, which no doubt he supposed I never would, 
that I would send him the plan of it, as he was about setting off for 
Alexandria the next day, and thence to France. I thought the best 
retaliation I could make was to send him the desired plan ; and I 
did so as soon as I opened the pyramid, which was in a few days 
after his departure. Would any one believe that the noble Count, 
on his arrival in France, gave out that he had succeeded in pene- 
trating the second pyramid of Djizeh, and brought the plan of it to 
Paris ? Whether this be the fact or not, will appear from the fol- 
lowing paragraph taken from a French paper now in my possession : 
— ' On the •i4th of April, Monsieur le Compte de Forbin, director- 
general of the Royal Museum of France, landed at the lazaretto of 
Marseilles. He came last from Alexandria, and his passage was 
very stormy. He has visited Greece, Syria, and Upper Egypt. By 
a happy chance, some days before his departure from Cairo, he suc- 
ceeded in penetrating into the second pyramid of Djizeh. Monsieur 
Forbin brings the plan of this important discovery, as well as much 
information on the labours of M. Drovetti at Karnac, and on those 
which Mr Salt, the English consul, pursues with the greatest success 
in the valley of Beban el Malook, and in the plain of Medinet Abou. 
The Museum of Paris is going to be enriched with some of the spoils 
of Thebes, which Monsieur Forbin has collected in his travels.' 

" Was this written," exclaims Belzoni, '• by some person in 
France, in ridicule of the Count de Forbin, or is it an attempt to 
impose on the public by a tissue of falsehoods ?'" — Vol. i. p. 393. 


It is manifest, from the inscription discovered by chap. iv. 
Belzoni, as well as fi-om the state of the chambers in ^ — 

1 • 1 ^ 1 11111 FomifTopen- 

the tAvo larger pjTamids, that they had both been introfthe 
opened at the distance of many years. Dr Shaw, on ^'>''^°^'<is- 
the authority of an Arabian author, mentions that the 
one attributed to Cheops was entered about ten cen- 
turies ago by Alniamoun, the renowned caliph of Baby- 
lon. It is added that the explorers found in it, towards , , . 

• 1 1 n • 1 • 1 1 Arabian 

the top, a chamber with a hollow stone, m which there accounts. 
was a statue like a man, within it the body of a man, 
upon which was a breastplate of gold set with jewels. 
Upon this breastplate there vvas a sword of inestimable 
price ; and at his head a carbuncle of the bigness of an 
egg, shining like the light of the day ; and upon the 
human figure were characters writ with a pen, Avhich 
no man understood.* 

It is in like manner recorded by Abdollatiph that .attempts to 
when Melee- Alaziz-Othman-ben-Yousouf succeeded his destroy the 
father, he allowed himself to be persuaded by some foolish ^■^'""' ^ 
courtiers to throw down the p}a"amids, and sent thither 
sappers, miners, and quairicrs, under the direction of 
proper officers, with orders to overturn the red one, that, 
namely, ascribed to Mycerinus, and which is known to 
have been coated with highly-coloured granite. To . 
execute the instructions with which they were charged, 
they encamped on the adjoining ground, and collected a 
great number of labourers, whom they maintained at 
an enormous expense. There they remained eight whole 
months, exerting themselves to the utmost in order to 
fulfil their commission ; but their most strenuous en- 
deavours with picks and levei-s above, and with ropes 
and cables below, could not remove more than one or 
two stones a-day. When a block was thro'mi down, 
there was the additional labour of breaking it into frag- 
ments and carrying it aside ; and one of the engineers is 
reported to have said, that, although he were to get ten 
thousand pieces of gold, he could not readjust one of 

• Shaw's Travels, vol. ii. p. 207 ; and Pyrainidographia by Mr 




ment of tlie 

Project 0. 

away of the 

Opening of 
the great 

these stones in its proper place. At length, they aban- 
doned the attempt, without demolishing the magnificent 
structure, or even, as the historian tliinks, without ma- 
terially reducing its dimensions. The date of this bar- 
barous project is usually placed about the end of the 
twelfth century. 

Several other cahphs are named by Makrisi and Ab- 
doUatiph as having meditated the demolition of these 
great works. Saladin, for example, charged his emir, 
Karakoush Asadi, to build the citadel and walls of 
Cairo, — instructmg him, at the same time, to consider 
Memphis and the p}Tamids as the most suitable quarry 
for obtaining materials. It is, accordingly, conjectured 
that the coating of the large edifice of Cheops, two- 
thirds of the one which bears the name of Cephrenes, 
and the greater part of some of the smaller ones, have 
been earned away, and can now only be sought for in 
the immense causeway, and the innumerable arches 
which he constructed between these monuments and 
the Nile, or in the citadel, the mosques, and the battle- 
ments of the capital. The remains of this causeway are 
still to be seen ; the finer portion of it, however, which 
was upon the lower ground, has been swept away by 
the overflowing of the Nile. Some authors have iden- 
tified it with the relics of the great road described by 
Herodotus, used for transporting the stones consumed 
in the construction of the pyramids. But a very slight 
inspection of the material, as well as of the style in 
which the building has been completed, will satisfy every 
one qualified to judge that this opinion is not founded 
in truth. Abdollatiph, m fact, a contemporary writer, 
states, in the plainest terms, that it was constructed by 
Asadi, one of the emirs of Salah-Eddin-Yousouf, the son 
of Job, commonly called Saladin the Great.* 

The opening of the great pyramid has, by many 
oriental writers, been ascribed to the Caliph Abdal la 
Mamour, the son of Haroun al Raschid ; and they state 

* Travels along the IMediterranoan and Parts adjacent. By 
Robert Richardson, M.D Vol. i. p. 139. 


that he employed, for the accomplishment of his object, chap, iv 
fire, vinegar, and other chemical solvents. Others at- DiffeTTnt 
tribute this acliievement to the Caliph Mohdi, whose statements 
name was Mohammed. The latter is not improbably writers, 
the sovereign whose reputation is embalmed in the 
inscription, copied by the direction of Belzoni, under 
the title of King Ali jVIohammed ; and as it is recorded 
that he attended the opening of them, — in the plural 
number, — it is certainly not unreasonable to conclude 
that it was he who first penetrated into the interior of 
both, and who is, consequently, chargeable with much 
of the unnecessary dilapidation which accompanied his 
fruitless labours. 

Considering the immense toil, as well as uncertainty Discrepan- 
which attend the exploration of the pjTamids, we cannot ve®i^g°.s.'"*' 
be surprised at any difference of opinion that may happen accounts. 
to prevail with regard to the various apertures, passages, 
and chambei-s, which occupy the interior. But it is much 
less easy to reconcile the mind to the discrepancy which 
perplexes almost every book of travels, in reference to 
the magnitude of the buildings themselves. For instance. Different 
the following table exhibits only a small portion of the proportion 
error which applies to the measurement, or estimated 
bulk, of these famous structures ; and yet the difference 
is so great as to justify the suspicion that the standard 
used by the several writers could not be the same, or 
that the summit of the prmcipal structure has been 
considerably lowered since the days of Herodotus. 

Height of the Length of the 

Great Pyramid. Side, 

ANCIENTS. Feet. Feet. 

Herodotus, 800 800 

Strabo, 625 600 

Diodorous, 600 700 

Pliny, 708 


LeBrun, 616 704 

Prosper Alpinus, 625 750 

Thevenot, t^ 612 

Niebuhr, 440 710 

Greaves, 444 648 

Davison, 461 746 

French Savans 440(470 Eng.)...704 




ments of 
and Grobert. 


ment of the 

Greaves, 207 

Maillet, 208 

Albert Lewenstein, 260 

Pococke, 212 

Belon 250 

Thevenot, 208 

Davison, 206 

Davison not only numbered the layers, but gives the 
height of every one of them separately, fi-om the bottom 
to the top. Grobert, a member of the French Academy, 
appears to have proceeded ia a similar manner, counting 
the steps, individual!}', and measuring their thickness. 
But it is obvious that, if they did not make an allow- 
ance in every instance for any deviation of the surface 
of the step from the plane of the horizon, the result 
would not coiucide with the actual height of the p}Ta- 
mid. As an approximation, however, we may assume 
that the structure in question is four hundred and eighty 
feet high, on a base of seven hundred and fifty feet in 
lengih ; or, in other words, covering an area of about 
eleven acres, and rising to an elevation of a hundred and 
twenty-seven feet greater than that of the cross on St 
Paul's Cathedral. 

]\Ir Belzoni, whose solitary exertions accomplished 
more than the united band of philosophers attached to 
the French anny, ascertained the dimensions of the 
second pATamid to be as follows : — 

in the en- 
trances dis- 

The Base, 6&4 

Perpendicular heitjht, 456 

Coating from the top to the place where it ends . . . 140 

Before we leave these memorable relics of ancient 
grandeur, we must revert to a circumstance which is 
too remarkable to be passed over. In all the pyramids 
that have been opened, which at Djizeh and Sakhara 
amount at least to six, the entrance has always been 
found near the centre on the northern face, and the 
passage uniformly proceeding do'VN-nwards from it, at an 
angle which never varies. Greaves makes the inclina- 
tion in that of Cheops to be 26°, while Caviglia main- 
tains that it is 27° : which last we have observed to be 


common to all the sloping- passages in the edifice just chap. iv. 
specified. He found the same angle on opening one of conesponti- 
the small pyramids towards the south, at the end of the ence of tne 
passage in which were two chambers, leading one out prssasea 
of the other, and both empty. The same conclusion 
was formed by Belzoni with regard to the pyramid of 
Cephrenes. The angle in all the sloping channels was 
about 26°. With much apparent reason, therefore, has 
it been conjectured that this coincidence covdd not be 
accidental. It must have been the work of design,, 
executed for some special purpose ; and nothing more 
readily presents itself to the mind, as an object worthy 
of so much care, than the uses of astronomy, to which 
the priests of ancient Egypt are known to have been 
greatly addicted. 

Pauw suggested that the pyramids, as well as the ideas sng- 
obelisks, were temples raised to the god of day, because fjf^''?'^/?'',^ 
one of their sides is in all cases tiu'ned to the east. If, 
then, nothing more were apparent than the exact posi- 
tion of these buUdings in reference to the four cardinal 
points of the compass, it Avould of itself be sufficient to 
stamp the character of the Egyptians at a very remote 
age, as connected with the pursuits of practical astro- 
nomy. But when to this are added the delineation of Astronomical 
the twelve signs of the zodiac, the traces of which are "*s^- 
stiU visible at Esneh and Dendera, the naming of the 
prmcipal stars, and the grouping of the constellations, 
there can remain no doubt that the science of the priest- 
hood was chiefly employed in mai'kmg the tunes and 
paths of the celestial host. When, too, we find that all 
the learning of Thales, by which he was enabled to cal- 
culate echpses, and detennine the solstitial and equinoc- 
tial points, was acquired from the Egyptian sages six 
hundred years before the Christian era ; that at a later 
period Eratosthenes was found qualified to measure a 
degree of the meridian, and from the result to deduce 
the circumference of the earth with an extraordinary 
degree of accuracy ; and that the day of the summer 
solstice was then, and probably at a much earlier epocli; 



Union of 
science and 

CHAP. IV. BO nicely observed by means of a well dug at Syene, irom 
the surface of which the sun's disc was reflected entire, 
— we cannot hesitate to receive any hypothesis which 
assumes an astronomical purpose, in accounting for the 
architectural prodigies of ancient Egypt. 

It is indeed quite consistent to suppose that the priests, 
ia the construction of these stupendous monuments, 
would avail themselves of the means thus offered of 
connecting their sacred duties with their favourite study, 
and of combining the sentiments of piety with the su- 
blime conceptions of astronomy. Among other benefits 
which this imion has conferred upon posterity, is that of 
having fixed with precision the faces of the pyramids, 
from which, as Pauw has observed, " we know tliat the 
poles of the earth have not changed." But there i' 
reason to think that those structures were made subser- 
vient to a more immediate and important use in the 
science of astronomy, namely, to correct the measure- 
ment of time. This object, it may be conceived, waa 
in contemplation when the main passages leading from 
the northern sides were formed. These approaches, as 
we have repeatedly remarked, are invariably inclined 
doAvnwards, in an angle of about 27°, with reference to the 
plane of the horizon, which gives a line of direction not 
far removed from that point m the heavens where the 
polar star now crosses the meridian below the pole. The 
observation of tliis, or some other star, passing the me- 
ridian, would give them an accui'ate measure of sideral 
time, — a point of the first importance in an age when it 
is probable no instruments more perfect than solar gno- 
mons were in use. Indeed it would not be easy to devise 
a method more effectual for observuig the transit of one 
of the heavenly bodies with the naked eye, than that of 
watching its motion across the mouth of such a length- 
ened tube ; and it is manifest that some one of these 
luminai'ies, when due north and under the pole, must 
have been seen in the line of a passage inclined at an 
angle of twenty-six or twenty-seven degrees. 

These remarks were suggested by an incidental notice 

ment of 
sideral time, 


in the sliort memorandum of tlie measurements made by chap, iv 
Mr Caviglia : — " One no longer sees the pole-star at the gtrikii^ 
epot where the main passage ceases to continue in the remark of 
same inclination, and where one begins to mount." ^' *"*^ 
From this expression it is naturally concluded that he 
must have seen the pole-star when at the bottom of the 
main passage ; and, if so, we have not yet got the true 
measure of the angle which these passages foiTQ vriih the 
horizon. This would be very desirable, as it could not 
fail to lead to most important results ; especially if it 
should be found that the difference of the angles in the 
approaches of the pyramids at Djizeh, Sakhara, and 
Dashour, correspond to the difference of the latitude oi 
these several places. We might then be almost certain sufr^estrd 
that they were intended for the pui-pose of observing caicuUitions. 
the passage, over the meridian, of some particular star, 
whose altitudfi was equal to the angle of the passage. 
If this suggestion should be well founded, it would not 
be difficult, by calculation, to determine which of tho 
stars within the Arctic circle might be seen to pass 
across the mouths of the shafts about the supposed time 
of building the pjTamids, and thereby to fix with more 
precision than has been hitherto attained, the period at 
which those stupendous structures were erected.* 

Dr Richardson is disposed to call in question the opoionsof 
soundness of this hj-pothesis, — observing that the suppo- ^'^^ R'ci'ara- 
sition of the passage being intended as an astronomical 
instrument for measuring sideral time is scarcely tena- 
ble. He remarks too that pyramids are prodigiously 
expensive and unmanageable machines ; and the passage, 
being so carefully sealed at the entrance, precluded all 
possibility of using them as such.t But, in reply to this 
rather hasty stricture, it may be sufficient to notice 
that no one has ever maintauied they were meant solely 
for astronomical uses ; while the constant occurrence of 

' Greaves' Pyramidographia. Belzoni's Researches, vol. i. p. 

+ Travels along the Mediterranean, vol. i. p. 133. 




CHAP. IV. a contiivance so little likely to be accidental can haidly 

Opinion of 
ilie author. 


Tiie Sphinx. 

the area 
around it. 

some purpose. We are therefore inclined to agree with 
the ingenious writer who first advanced the hypothesis, 
in ascribing the uniform inclination of the passages, in 
the two large ones, to some object quite unconnected with 
the mere facility of descent. 

Having occupied so much space with the description 
of these vast monuments, we must rest satisfied with 
a mere reference to those of Abousir, Sakhara, and Dash- 
our. Every one knows that, in point of magnitude, these 
are much inferior to the former, though still entitled to 
rank very high as the remains of a great people, whose 
glory unfortunately is noAv almost entirely reflected from 
the niins of their ancient works. It is deserving of 
notice, at the same time, that these smaller pyramids are 
generally coated with a material different from the body 
of the edifice ; and, moreover, that, so far as they have 
been inspected, they bear in their structure and internal 
distribution a striking resemblance to the more magni- 
ficent erections at Djizeh. 

Our account of the mechanical productions of ancient 
Eg}^t would be incomplete did we not mention the great 
Sphinx, wliich has always been regarded as an accom- 
paniment, and sometimes even as a rival to the pyramids. 
The latest information in regard to this stupendous figure 
was obtained through the persevering laboui^s of Mr Ca- 
viglia, whose name has been already mentioned with so 
much honour. After the most fatigumg and anxious 
endeavours, during several months, he succeeded in lay- 
ing open the whole statue to its base, and exposing a clear 
area extending to a hundred feet from its front. It is 
hot easy, saj-s Mv Salt, who Avitnessed the process of 
excavation, for any person unused to operations of this 
kind to form the smallest idea of the difliculties which 
he had to surmount, more especially when workmg at 
the bottom of the trench ; for, in spite of every precau- 
tion, the slightest breath of wind, or concussion, set all 
the surrounding particles of sand in motion, so that the 


sloping sides began to cinimhle away, and mass after mass CHAP. IV 
to come tumbling down, till the whole surface bore no imni^e 
unapt resemblance to a cascade of water. Even when labour of 
the sides appeared most firm, if the labourers suspended * ''^ ^'^^' 
their work but for an hour, they found on their return 
that they had the greatest part of it to do over again. 
This was particularly the case on the southern side of 
the paw, where the whole of the people — from sixty to 
a hundred — were employed seven days without making 
any sensible advance, the sand rolling dovra in one con- 
tmued torrent. 

But the discovery amply rewarded the toil and expense Ample 
which were incurred in revealing the structure of this 
wondeiful work of art. The huge legs stretched out 
fifty feet in advance from the body, which is in a cum- 
bent posture ; fragments of an enormous beard were 
found resting beneath the chin ; and there were seen 
all the appendages of a temple, granite tablet, and altar, Temple 
arranged on a regular platform immediately in front. 
On this pavement, and at an equal distance between the 
paws of the figure, was the large slab of granite just 
mentioned, being not less than fourteen feet high, seven 
broad, and two thick. The face of this stone, which 
fronted the east, was highly embellished with sculptures 
in bas-relief, the subject representing two sphinxes seated 
on pedestals, and priests holding out offerings. There was 
also a long inscription m hieroglyphics most beautifully insciihea 
executed ; the whole design being covered at top, and t^ibiets. 
protected, as it were, with the sacred globe, the serpent, 
and the wings. Two other tablets of calcareous stone, 
similarly ornamented, were supposed, together with that 
of granite, to have constituted part of a miniature temple, 
by being placed one on each side of the latter, and at 
right angles to it. One of them in fact was still remain- 
ing in its place ; of the other, which was thro\\Ti down 
and broken, the fragments are now in the Biitish Mu- 
seum. A small lion, couching in front of this edifice, 
had its eyes dii*ected towards tlie main figure. There 
were besides, several fragments of other lions rudely 



Small lions. 

CHAP. IV. carved, and the fore part of a sphinx of tolerable work- 
manship ; all of which, as well as the tablets, walls, and 
platfoi-ms on which the little temple stood, were orna- 
mented with red paint, — a colour which seems to have 
been, in Eg;y^t as well as in India, appropriated to sacred 
purposes. In front of the temple was a granitic altar, 
with one of the four projections or horns still retaining 
its place at the angle. From the effects of fire e'V'ident 
on the stone, it is manifest that it had been used for 
bumt-offermgs. On the side of the left paw of the great 
sphinx were cut several indistinct legends in Greek cha- 
Greek racters, addressed to different deities. On the second 

inscriptions (Jigjt of the same was sculptured, in pretty deep letters, 
an mscription in verse ; of which the subjoined transla- 
tion was given by the late Dr Young, whose extensive 
knowledge of antiquities enabled liim at once to restore 
the defects of the original, and to convey its meaning in 
Latin as well as in English.* 

^,i\iot ^u^tis ^vfiioa y,aZo//.iv>ii- x. t. >.. 

Tuum corpus stupendum struxerunt dii sempiterni, 

Parcentes terras triticum pinsenti ; 
In medium erigentes arvensis tabulae, 

Insulse petrosae arenam detrudentes : 
Vicinam pyramidibus talem te posuerunt visu; 
Non ffidipodis homicidam, sicut ad Thebas, 

Sed Deee Latonae faraulam purissimam 
Sedulo observantem desideratum bonum regem, 
Terrae Egyptiae venerandum ductorem, 
Caelestem magnum imperatorem (diis affinem) 
Similera Vulcano, magnaniraum (fortissimum) 
Validum in bello, et amabilem inter cives 
Terram laetari (omnigenis epulis jubentem). 

Thy form stupendous here the gods have placed, 
Sparing each spot of harvest-bearing land ; 

And with this mighty work of art have graced 
A rocky isle encumber'd once with sand : 

Not that fierce Sphynx which Thebes erewhile laid waste 

But great Latona's servant, mild and bland ; 

Watching that prince beloved who fills the throne 

Of Egypt's plains, and calls the Nile his own. 

That heavenly monarch who his foes defies; 

Like Vulcan powerful, and like Pallas wise. 


On the digits of the southern paw nothing more was chap. iv. 
discovered than a few of the usual dedicatory phrases in piatteiinK 
honour of Harpocrates, Mars, and Hermes. One inscrip- dedications. 
lion gives, as jNIr Salt reads it, to the Emperor Claudius 
the extraordinary appellation of the " good spirit," 
{ayahg haiii'j}'J) — an instance of flattery which can 
only be outdone by that of another inscription discover- 
ed in Upper Egypt, where Caracalla is styled " most 
pious" (^piissimus), on the very same stone from which 
the name of his murdered brother Geta had probably Name of 
been erased by his own hand. On another smaU edifice, Seventi. 
in front of the sphinx, was a legend Avitli the name of 
Septimius Sevenis, in which that of Geta was obliterated 
as in the former, and as it also is on the triumphal arch 
erected by the same emperor at Rome. Tlie former in- 
scription, however, is not to Claudius, but to liis succes- 
sor Nero, as may be distinctly traced in the first line as 
it now appears.* 

We have entered more particularly into these details Errors of 
on account of an en-or into which Dr Clarke has falle-a ^'^- Ciavka 
respecting the share of merit due to the French in un- 
covering the body of the sphinx. He states, without 
the slightest hesitation, that the academicians who fol- 
lowed the camp of Bonaparte laid open the whole pedes- 
tal of this statue, as well as the cumbent or leonme part 
of the figure, which were before entirely concealed by 
the sand ; adding that, instead of answering the expec- 
tations raised concerning the work upon which it was 
supposed to rest, the pedestal proves to be a wretched 
substructure of brick- work and small fragments of stone, 
put together like the most insignificant piece of modem 
masonry, and wholly out of character, both with respect 
to the prodigious labour bestowed upon the statue itself 
and the gigantic appearance of the surrounding objects. 
Now, every one who has glanced into the splendid 

• For the above account of Cariglia's discoveries, as he himself 
has not published any thing, the reader is indebted to the several 
communications forwarded by Mr Salt from Egypt to the late 
Editor of the Quarterly Review 



CHAP. rv'. 

operations of 
the French. 

M. Denoa 
and >r. 

origin of 
Dr. Clarke'a 

Failure of 
the French 

publication, to the contents of wliicli tlie several philoso- 
phers contributed in their respective departments, knows 
well that the French never uncovered more than tlie 
back of the sphinx, — that they never pretended to have 
seen the pedestal, — and that there is, in fact, no brick- 
work in any way connected with that celebrated statue. 
M. Denon saw nothing but the head and neck ; and ^I. 
Gobert, who was constantly stationed at the pyramids, 
says, in his memoir, that he succeeded in laying bare the 
back to such an extent as was sufficient to detenuiae the 
measurement ; affirming that the figure was cut ovit of 
a salient angle of the mountain, and is, in fiict, one solid 
piece of rock. It is true that the paws, wliich are thrown 
out fifty feet in front, are consti-ucted of masonry ; but 
it is neither insignificant, nor in the least degree resem- 
blmg modern workmanship. This, however, could not 
be kno%vn either to the French or to Dr Clarke. Per- 
haps, after all, the hint has been taken from Pococke, 
who remarks, in regard to the body of the sphinx, that 
what some have taken for joinings of the stones, are no- 
thmg more than veins in the rock. Hence the suspicion 
that the hands of a builder were employed in construct- 
ing the supposed pedestal or platform on which the 
statue rests. 

We may remark in passing, that the scientific corps, 
commissioned by Bonaparte to ilhistrate the history and 
antiquities of Egypt, effected almost nothing in either 
department. Compelled to follow the movements of the 
army, which was at no time in undisturbed j^ossession of 
the country, they could not engage in those tedious ope- 
rations which, as has been proved by the experience of 
Belzoni and Caviglia, were absolutely necessary to suc- 
cess in any attempt to analyze the structure of the vast 
edifices which mvite the curiosity of the traveller. It 
is not denied that, in the great work published under 
the patronage of the French government, there is much 
valuable information connected more or less directly with 
the ancient state of Egj-pt ; but it is true, at the same 
time, that nearly all the dissertations which occupy its 


splendid volumes might have been written by men who chap, iv 
had never quitted Paris, nor seen any other document ^tj, ^^-al 
besides those Avhich are supplied by the Greek and Ro- character of 
man authors. This remark applies, in the sti'ictest sense, tioTiL'^'^^'^"^ 
to the long article by M. Jomard on the pyramids. It 
is a mere abridgment of the descriptions given by He- 
rodotus, Diodorus, Strabo, Pliny, Ammianus, and by 
some later writers of the Arabian school. With regard, 
again, to the sphinx, we subjoin in a note the sum of 
all the intelligence which is conveyed to the readers of 
Europe by the renowned philosophers of Napoleon.* speedy filling 
It becomes us to add, that the view given in the fore- ip of.t^e ex- 
going plate represents the sphinx as it appeared to the rou'nd°the 
French in 1800, and not as it might have been delineated Sphinx. 
by Caviglia, immediately after his successful labour in 
removing the covering which had concealed it for ages. 
But we know not whether it will be consolatory to the 
reader to be infonned, that tliis remarkable statue is 
again as much under the dominion of the desert as it 
was half a century ago ; and, consequently, that it now 
meets the eye of the traveller shrouded in sand to the 
same depth as before, and presenting the very outline 
which our artist has borrowed from a distmguished 
French master. Dr Richardson relates that the wind 
and the Arabs had replaced the covering on this vene- 
rable piece of antiquity, and hence that the lower parts 
were quite invisible. The breast, shoulders, and neck, 
which are those of a human being, remain uncovered, as 
also the back, which is that of a lion ; the neck is very 

* " Son elevation, d'environ 13 metres au-dessus du sol actuel, 
reste comme timoin et comme raesure de I'enleveinent des pierres 
qui a ete fait a. la superficie pour dresser cette partie de la mon- 
tagne. La croupe, a peine sensible, semble seulement tracee sur le 
sol dans une longueur de pres de 22 metres ; et le cote que nous 
avons voulu dccouvrir, en faisant enlever la sable que les vents ont 
accumule jusqu'au niveau de la montagne, ne nous a-otfert, sur une 
profondeur de 9 a 10 metres environ, aucune forme reguliere : quant 
a I'excavation qui avait ete remarquee sur la tete, eile n'est pro- 
fonde que de 2 metres 924 millimetres, d'une forme unique et irre- 
guliere." — Dcicripiion de VEgypte, vol. ii. p. j2, Antiquiten. 




oi the head. 



of internul 


of the sphinx. 

much eroded, and, to a person near, the head seems as if 
it were too heavy for its support. The head-dress has the 
appearance of an old-fashioned wig, projectmg out ahout 
the ears like the hair of the Berber Ai-abs ; the ears pro- 
ject considerably, the nose is broken, the whole face 
has been painted red, which is the colour assigned to the 
ancient inhabitants of Eg}'pt, and to all the deities of the 
country except Oshis. The features are Nubian, or 
what, from certain representations, may be called ancient 
Egj'ptian, which is quite different from the negro fea- 
ture. The expression is particularly placid and benign ; 
so much so, that the worshipper of the sphinx might 
extol it as superior to all the other gods of wood and 
stone which the bhnded nations adored,'- 

No opening was found in the body of the statue, 
whereby to ascertaui whether it is hollow or not ; though 
we learn from Dr Pococke that there is an entrance both 
in the back and in the top of the head, the latter of 
which, he thinks, might serve for the arts of the priests 
in uttering oracles, wliile the former might be meant for 
descending to the apartments beneath.t 

As to the dimensions of the figure, tlie traveller last 
named ascertained the head and neck to be twenty-seven 
feet high ; the breast thirty-three feet wide ; and the 
entire length about a hundred and thirty. Plmy esti- 
mated it at a hundred and thirteen feet long, and sixty- 
three in height. According to Dr Richardson, the stretch 
of the back is about a hundred and twenty feet, and the 
elevation of the head above the sand from thirty to 
thii"ty-five, — a result wliich accords pretty nearly with 
the measurement of Coutelle. It is obvious, at the same 
time, that the discrepancy in these reports, as to the 
elevation of the figure, must be attributed to the vary- 
ing depth of the sand, which appears to have accumulat- 
ed greatly since the days of the Roman naturalist. The 
sphinx was entire in the time of Abdollatiph, who de- 
scribes its graceful appearance and the admirable propor- 

• Travels, vol. i. p. 152. 

t Vol i. p. 46. 


tion in the different features of the countenance, which CHAP. IV. 
excited his astonishment above every thing he had seen Arabian 
in EjjjT)t. Makrisi states that it Avas mutilated by the descriptions. 
Sheik Mohammed, who, in the spirit of a true Mussul- 
man, thought himself hound to destroy all images, and 
every thing indeed which bore the slightest resemblance 
to a living creatiire. He was called the Faster, — an ex- 
pression which denoted his rigid adherence to the rules 
of his church ; while the attack now described, as well 
as that on the stone lions at the gates of Caii'o, establish- 
ed his reputation as a fui'ious bigot. 

The learned have indulged in the utmost latitude of conjectures 
conjecture respecting the design of such figures. As ^1^°^'^^ 
they are all found near temples and consecrated build- design, 
ings, it has been justly inferred that their emblematical 
form must have had some relation to the theological 
opinions or religious rites of the ancient Egyptians. Ac- 
cording to some authors, the countenance of a beautiful 
woman, combined with the body of a lion or other ani- 
mal, intimated the alluring aspect with which vice at 
first assails the unwary, and the besotted monsters which 
she makes them when caught in her fangs. Others, supposed 
again, have regarded them as astronomical symbols, symbolic 
marking the passage of the sun from the sign Leo into 
that of Virgo, and thereby shadowing forth the happy 
period when the overflowing of the Nile diffuses the 
blessings of health and plenty throughout the whole 
land. To us the import of this vast piece of sculpture 
appears somewhat more profound and mystical. The 
philosophers of the East, who accustomed themselves to 
view the created universe as the effect of a certain mys- 
terious generation, naturally regarded the First Cause as 
combining both sexes, as exercising, in a manner entirely 
incomprehensible to the human intellect, the male and 
the female energies, and thereby becoming the parent of 
ever}' thing that exists. It will, accorduigly, be found 
that to the sphinx are ascribed attributes which do not 
belong to a man or to a woman singly, and which cannot 
be united in the same figure without representing that 


CHAP IV imaginary hermaphrodite which the refined speculation 
Jiaterials ^^ ^^^^ Orientals has enshrined in the darkest recesses of 
lor reflection, their mystic theology.* On a subject,' however, so far 
removed from the ordinary path of investigation in 
modern times, and so little likely either to instmct or 
amuse, it may be sufficient to have suggested materials 
for reflection to such as are inclined to enter at greater 
length upon such absti-use inquiries. 
Observations Connected with the stupendous imdertakings of the 
of Herodotus. Eg^'ptian architects, there is an occurrence mentioned 
by Herodotus, to which we shall merely du-ect the at- 
tention of the reader. Alluding to a temple erected at 
Sais in honour of Minerva, the liistorian observes that 
what, in his opinion, was most of all to be admired, was 
a sanctuary brought by Amasis from Elephantine, con- 
sisting of one entu'e stone. The carriage of it employed 
two thousand men, all sailors, for the whole period of 
three years. The length of tliis edifice, if it may be sc 
called, was twenty-one cubits, the width foui-teen, and 
the height eight. It was placed at the entrance of the 
temple ; and the reason assigned for its being carried no 
farther is, that the architect, reflecting upon his long 
fatigue, sighed deeply, and thereby alarmed the super- 
stition of the king, who considered it as a bad omen. 
Some, however, affirm that one of the men employed in 
working a lever was crushed to death, — an event wliich 
discouraged the monarch, and mduced him to desist from 
his enterprise.t 

* " Les Sphinx des Egyptiens ont les deux sexes, c'est a dire, qu lis 
sont fenielles par devant, ayant une tete de femme, — et males der- 

riere C'est une remarque que personne n'avait encore faite. II 

resulte. de Finspection de queiques monumens, que les artistes 
Grecs donnaient aussi des natures composees a ces etres mixtes, et 
qu'ils faisaient meme des sphinx barbiis, comme le preuve un bas- 
relief en terre cuito conserve a la Farnesina. Lorsque Herodote 
nomine les sphinx des androsphiuges. il a voulu designer par cette 
expression la duplicite de leur sexe. Les sphinx qui sont aux quatre 
faces de la pointe de I'obelisque du soleil, sont remarquables par 
ieurs mains d'hommes armees d'ongles crochus, comme les griffes 
des betes feroces." — Winkleman. 

■f Herodotus, lib. ii. c. 175. 


We know that the practice of erecting monolithic tern- chap, iv 
pies, or sanctuaries hollowed out in a single stone, was Erection of 
very general in Egypt ; some striking specimens bein^' monouthic 
still preserved in the higher parts of the country. But it ^°^^ *^ 
may be questioned whether the power of modem me- 
chanics could remove from the quaiTy, and convey to the 
distance of four hundred miles, a mass of rock thiity-two 
feet long, twenty-one broad, and twelve in height. It is 
only in a nation where tlie pyramids continue to bear 
witness to the astonishing effects produced by labour and 
perseverance that such things must not be pronounced 
incredible. The obelisks, too, some of which adorn more 
than one capital city in Europe, prove that the resources 
of the Egyptian engineer are not to be measured by the 
progress of simQar arts, at tlie same period, in any part 
of Italy or Greece. 

But our limits forbid us to indulge in details. We Tombs of 
hasten, therefore, to leave tlie vast cemetery wliich sur- I^ji^i;!'- 
rounded the ancient MempMs, and of which the pyra- 
,mids maj' be considered as the principal decorations, by 
noticing the researches of Jlr Salt and his coadjutor Ca- 
viglia, in the ruined edifices or toml^s which crowd the 
neighbourhood of Djizeh. Viewed from the monument 
of Cheops, they appear in countless multitudes, scattered 
without order among the larger buildings, like the graves 
in a churchyard around the church, and extend towards 
the north and south along the left bank of the Nile as 
for as the eye can reach. These remains of antiquity 
Avere noticed by Pococke and other travellers, but were 
not till lately examined with the attention which they 
appear to deserve. They are described as being gene- Description 
rally of an oblong form, having their walls slightly in- °' '*'^'"- 
clined from the perpendicular inwards, — the peculiar 
characteristic of ancient Egyptian architecture, — flat- 
roofed, with a sort of parapet round the outside formed 
of stones, rounded at tlie top, and rising about a foot and 
ahalf above the level of the terrace. The walls are con- 
structed of large masses of rock of irregular shape, seldom 
rectangular, though neatly fitted to each other, somewhat 




Interior of a 



isrics of indi- 
vidual por- 

in the manner of the Cyclopean structures, as the}'^ are 
called, which are seen in various parts of Greece. 

The first of these mausoleums examined by Mr Cavi- 
glia was found to have the inside walls covered with 
stucco, and embellished with rude paintings, one of 
which, though much defaced, evidently represented the 
sacred boat, while another displayed a procession of 
figui'es, each carrying a lotus in his hand. At the south- 
ern extremity were several mouldering mummies laid 
one over another in a recumbent posture. Many of the 
bones remained entu-e, among which was a skull with 
part of its cloth-coveruig inscribed with hieroglyphs. The 
second edifice he explored had no paintings, but contain- 
ed several fragments of statues. In one of the chambers 
were found two pieces of marble composing an entire 
figure, almost as large as life, in the act of walking, with 
the left leg stretched forward, and the two amis hanging 
do-wm and resting on the thighs. From the position of 
this statue, as also from that of a pedestal and the foot 
of another figure, in a difi'erent chamber, both facing the. 
openings into the respective a2)artments, it is supposed 
they were so placed for the express pui-pose of being seen 
by the friends of the deceased from an adjoining cor- 
I'idor ; the statues themselves bearing evident marks of 
being intended for portraits of persons whom they were 
meant to represent. The several parts are marked with 
a strict attention to nature, and coloured after life, hav- 
ing artificial eyes of glass or transparent stones to give 
them the air of living men. A head was discovered, but 
it did not exactly fit the statue in question, though it 
probably belonged to the foot and pedestal ; but its chief 
value consisted in its similarity of style and features to 
that of the sphinx, having the same facial line, the same 
sweetness of expression and marking in the mouth, and 
the same roundness and peculiarity which characterize 
the rest of the countenance, — cu-cumstances Avhich tend 
to prove its great antiquity. In removing the fragments, 
eight hours were employed in enlarging the opening of 
the chamber, so as to enable the workmen to force them 


through ; whence it is evident that the statue must have chap. iv. 
been placed in its ceE before the edifice was completely 
finished. The same observation, indeed, applies to the 
pyramids ; the sarcophagus, and other remains of art con- 
tained in them, must have been introduced before the 
passages were lined with granite, the space being now too 
contracted to admit of their conveyance in a perfect state. 
It has been remarked that the fragments found in these gj^^j, eharao- 
tombs, composed of alabaster as well as of the hardest ter of Eeyp. 
rock, give a much higher idea of Eg}^tian sculpture than ^.^^^ ^ 
has usually been entertained ; the utmost attention be- 
ing shown by the artist to the anatomical properties of 
the human figure, to the swell of the muscles and tlie 
knitting of the joints. 

In a third of these stone edifices was a boat of a large c^„iptuied 
size, sculptured with a Sfjuare sail, different from any Boat, 
now employed on the JS'ile. In the first chamber of 
this building were paintings in bas-relief, of men, deer, 
and birds, — the men engaged in planning and preparing 
certain pieces of furniture, hewing blocks of wood, and 
pressing skins either of wine or oil. The top of the 
faecond chamber is hollowed out in the form of an arch ; 
and in this apartment the figures and hieroglyphs are 
exceedingly beautiful. On the right is represented a 
quarrel between some boatmen, executed with great j^g^jesg^ta. 
spirit ; and, a little farther on, a number of men en- tions on the 
gaged in the different pursuits of agriculture, — plough- ^* ^ 
ing, hoeing up the ground, bringing m their com on 
asses, and storing it in the magazines. On the west are 
several vases painted in the most vivid colours ; and on 
the south a band of musicians playing on the harp, flute, 
and a species of clarionet, together Avith a group of 
dancmg women, tinged of a yellow colour, as is the case 
in most of the temples of Upper Egypt. In the same 
structure are two other chambers, one uncmbellished, the 
other having on its walls a variety of carved figures and 
hieroglyphs. In a fifth of these funereal dwellings were 
similar inscriptions on a thick coat of white plaster, exe- 
cuted, as it would appear, with a wooden stamp or mould. 


CHAP. IV. Many others of these ancient sepulchres were cleared 
Interiors oiit, and found to consist of a number of different apaii- 
of other mcnts, variously disposed, but similarly decorated with 

ancient j l 7 ^ */ 

sepulchres, carvings and paintings, coiTesponding, perhaps, to the 
wealth or caprice of those who erected them ; one in 
particular, from the delicacy of its colours, its pleasing- 
aspect, and superior style of execution, Avas deemed de- 
serving of the closest attention. It is farther observed, 
that in all of them there were discovered fragments of 
bitumen, great quantities of mummy-cloth and of human 
bones, which seemed to remove all doubt of their having 
served the purpose of entombmg the dead. A very im- 
portant circumstance yet remains to be noticed. In 
some one apartment of all these monumental edifices 

Shifts and '^^'^ ^ ^^^P shaft or well, from the bottom of wliicb a 

subterranean narrow passage conducted to a subterranean chamber. 

c lam ers. q^^ ^^p ^^^^ shafts cleared out b}' iMr Caviglia was sixty 
feet deep, and m the room a little to the south of the 
lower extremity of the pit Avas standing, without a lid, 
a plain but highly-finished sarcophagus, of the same 
dimensions nearly as that in the pyramid of Cheops, 
though still more exquisitely polished. This discovery 
supplies a strong argument in support of the opinion 
that all the pyramids were used as sepulchres, what- 
ever may have been their primary and more important 

„ . . , As to the comparative antiquity of the mausoleums 

Opinion of . „.,.,/-, ^ ■ \ ■ ■ Tnr 

Mr. >aitasto just described, Mr bait entertamed an opmion different 
their age. fpo^ that of most writers ; considering the ground in 
which they stand as the burial-place of the kings of 
Egypt prior to the construction of the pyramids, and as 
liaving been connected with Hcliopolis Ijefore the seat 
of government was transferred to Memphis. The more 
general belief, however, is, that these edifices are not 
only much more recent than the vast structures which 
they surround, but that ui a majority of cases they are 
composed of the coatmg of the pyramids, removed from 
the surface of the latter either by violence or by the 
effects of time. As a confirmation of this view, it may 


lie stated that the walls of these tombs are foniied of chap, iv 
the same kind of stones which were used for coating the 
more majestic monuments, and covered with hieroglyphs, 
as were also the casings of the pyramids at a remote 
epoch. On these last Abdollatiph says that he himself nemaviis nf 
saw as many inscriptions as would fill ten thousand ° '^"^"' 
volumes ; and other authoi-s have recorded the same 
fact in language equally strong. A circumstance men- 
tioned by Mr Salt appears to be completely decisive of 
the question. He saw a stone, bearing an inscription of Prior 
hieroglyphs and figures, built into one of the walls •"''="p""°- 
ujjside do\vn, — a fact which proves beyond a doubt that 
it had constituted a part of some other stracture before 
it was placed in its present position. It is probable, too, 
that the little mounds which diversify the surface of the 
neighbouring country were originally buildings of the 
same description, but of a still higher antiquity ; and 
that they have gradually mouldered down mto the shape 
they now exhibit, under the pressure of age and the 
U'asting influence of the elements. 

In examining the interesting district which includes impressive 
Djizeh, Abousir, Sakhara, and Dashour, and which may ci''»ra<;ter 
even be regarded as extendhig to the borders of Lake remains. 
]\Ioeris, the contemplative spirit finds itself in a great 
city of the dead, — reading the annals of a mighty people, 
the impressions of whose power and genius are most 
closely associated with emblems of mortality, — Avhose 
thoughts must have been constantly occupied with the 
value of posthumous fame, and who appear to have 
spent their Lives in prepai-ing a receptacle for the body 
after all its earthly attachments should have passed Present 
away. At the present hour, the wide plain of Memphis occupants. 
is in the possession of those who urged its labours or 
presided over its affairs three thousand years ago. The 
peasant or the traveller, accordingly, who seeks a dwell- 
ing in that desolate region, must enter the precincts of 
a tomb, share an apartment with bones which have been 
insensible during many centuries, and be suiTOundcd with 
figures and inscriptions which point to events not recorded 



of former 

Canals and 

CHAP. IV. in any other liistory. No nation of ilie ancient world 
E^^dence ^^^ ^'^ Successfully perpetuated its existence through the 
medium of death. The actual inliabitants of Egypt sink 
into insignificance when compared with the mouldering 
dust of then- ancestors ; and the proudest edifices wliich 
they have raised since the days of the Pharaohs, produce 
not on the mind of the spectator any other feeling than 
that the sons have gradually degenerated from the power 
or ambition of their fathers. 

Among the mechanical labours of the ancient Egyp- 
tians, we ought to enumerate some of those extensive 
canals, or water-courses, which were constructed either 
for the pui"pose of iiTigation, or of facilitating the trans- 
actions of commerce. In reference to the former class 
we might make bold to assert that Joseph's River was 
only one instance out of many in which the skill of the 
artificer rivalled the magnificence of nature ; and that 
Egj'pt, at an early period, presented a variety of othej 
excavations worthy of the people who planned the Py 
ramids, the Labyrinth, and the Lake of ]\Ioeris. But 
our remarks must now be confined to a single example 
of the latter species of water-conveyance, the canal, 
namely, which connected the Nile near Bubastis, with 
the Red Sea at Arsinoe, a town which stood in the 
vicinity of the modem Suez. 

The direct distance from the northern extremity of 
the Arabian Gulf to the nearest part of the IMediterra- 
nean, is about seventy-five miles ; and to the site of the 
ancient Bubastis, on the Pelusiac branch of the NUe, 
almost precisely the same. The length of a canal from 
sea to sea, following the most suitable ground, would be 
ninetj'-three mUes, — and that of the ancient excavation, 
from the Arabian Gulf to the river, was about ninety- 
two. Some learned modems, perplexed by the vague 
and contradictory statements of the Greek and Roman 
writers respecting this canal, have called in question its 
existence altogether, except partially as an aqueduct for 
irrigation. The survey, however, made by the French 
in 1799, has not only removed these doubts, but ascer- 

with the 


tained the precise line on wliicli the work must have CHAP. iv. 
been executed. Of the ninety-two miles of water-corn- Rem^Iof 
munication of which it consisted, it appears that not less JJ^e Great 
than sixty-five were accomplished by human labour ; and 
of that portion about one-half yet exists in a state more or 
less perfect. In many parts it is still so entire that its 
dimensions can be measured with great accuracy ; and 
little more than cleaning out would be required to render 
it again fitted for the uses of navigation. 

This great work may be considered as comprehending its four seo- 
four distinct sections, Tlie first begins about a mile and ''°°^ 
a half northward of Suez, and extends across the low 
sandy isthmus to the Bitter Lakes, Its length is about 
thirteen miles and a half. Over the whole of this space, 
with a few exceptions, the vestiges of the canal can be 
distmctly traced. The remains of the walls or banks are 
from twelve to twent^'-four feet in height ; and the space 
between these, or width of the water-course, is generally 
about fifty yards. 

The second section consists of the basin of the Bitter Tlie Bitter 
Lakes, twenty-seven miles long, and from five to seven ^ 
miles broad, running in a north-westerly direction. No 
cutting or embanking would be required here ; the depth 
of the valley being from twenty-five to sixty feet below 
the high- water-mark at Suez, and in some parts twenty- 
four feet below that of the Mediterranean at Tineh, 
There is no doubt that these lakes are the lacus amari 
of Pliny. At present the basin contains no water, with 
the exception of some pools in the deepest parts. The 
ruins of the Serapeum, or temple of Serapis, are still to 
be seen at the northern extremity. 

The boundary of this basin is accurately traced on the Margin of 
declivities by lines of gravel, shells, and mai-me debris, ^* ^^* "* 
of the same kind, and precisely at the same level, with 
those found at the high- water-mark on the beach of the 
Red Sea. Hence M, Bois Ayme' maintains, that the 
Bitter Lakes were, at no very remote period, a part of 
the Arabian Gulf. The low bank, wliich now divides 
the lakes from that sea, may, he tirinks, have been ori- 



^VadT of 

CHAP. IV. ginally thrown up by a tempest, and afterwards raised 

Oiipinof the ^y drift-sands, and by soil washed down from the heights. 

embank- If these facts be correctly stated, there can indeed be no 

'^^'^^ doubt that the Bitter Lakes have at one time formed 

part of the Gulf, connecting it, probably, at high water, 

with the ^Mediterranean, as there is at present no natural 

barrier which could have prevented tliis jtmction m the 

line now suggested. 

The third section passes through the Wady of Tomiat, 
a distance of nearl}^ foi-ty miles. Tliis valley is from 
half a mile to tAvo miles m breadth. Its bottom is about 
thu-ty feet lower than the level of the surrounduig desert, 
and nearly as much below the tide of the Arabian Gulf. 
To exclude the waters of the Nile it is shut by a trans- 
verse dike at Abaceh, by another at Ras el Wady near 
the middle, and by a tliird elevation, either natm-ai or 
artificial, at the Serapeum, where it terminates. The 
canal runs along the northern side, where the surface of 
the ground is some feet higher than the rest of the val- 
ley ; so that the water collected in it can be conveniently 
used for ii-rigation. In the western half of the valley 
the canal is very entu'e. In the eastern half, beyond 
Ras el Wady, the accumulatmg drilt-sands of the desert 
have obliterated all traces of the work, except at parti- 
cular spots. In this tract it is observed that it must have 
had a greater breadth than elsewhere, and probably also 
a greater depth, to provide against the deposites of sand. 
M. Le Pere, the engineer, tliuiks that a branch of the 
Nile has at one time flowed through this hollow, — an 
opinion which is not destitute of probability, the bottom 
b^ing, for many miles, two or three feet lower than the 
surface of the Mediterranean. But it has been remarked 
that the river must have relinquished this channel at a 
very remote period ; for the Pelusiac branch, which was 
described as the most eastern by the ancient Greek wri- 
ters, has been distinctly traced at the distance of twenty 
or tliirty miles to the northward.* 

* The Wady of Tomiat is said to contain about 20,000 acres of good 
soil, wliich still bears an abundant growth of shrubs and copse-wood 

Remains in 
the western 


The fourth section of this gi-eat work reached from chap. iv. 
the entrance of the vallev, at Ahaceh, to Bubastis on , .~ ^ 

" Jjast section 

the Nile ; the length being computed at about twelve of the CanaL 

miles. The country in this neighbourhood being regu- 
larly covered by the annual floods of the river, is ail 
imder cultivation, and traversed by a number of aque- 
ducts now used solely for the pui-poses of agriculture, 
though some of them are believed to be the remains of 
the ancient canal. 

The general features of this inland navigation wiU now its general 
be tolerably understood. It consisted, according to the ^^^'"'"es. 
French engineers, of a canal extending upon one level, 
from Bubastis to Arsinoe, and carrying the waters of the 
Nile to the Red Sea. Its breadth, in the section between 
the Bitter Lakes and the Arabian Gulf, appears to have 
been about 120 feet at the water-line. At the other 
end, where it received a greater quantity of fluid, it was 
probably one-half broader ; and towards the middle, 
from Ras el Wady to the Serapeum, where the walla 
were of less firm materials, and the drift-sands more 
frequent, there are vestiges which indicate that its width 
must have exceeded 200 feet. Of the depth the surveyors Remains of 
do not speak very decisively. Between the Red Sea and '^® ^"^"^ 
the Bitter Lakes the walls were found reaching down 
from twelve to twenty-four feet ; but this included the 
thickness of the earth acciimulated on the banks fi-om 
repeated clearings. The probal^ility is, that the extreme 
depth of this part, when the cavity was full, was from 
twelve to fifteen feet ; that the walls rose two or three 
feet higher ; and that the water-line, at the height of 
the inundation, was about twenty-eight feet above the 

Its breadth has formerly been much greater than it is at present : 
for the moveable sands of the desert, which form hillocks thirty or 
forty feet high, on the southern side, are swept into it by the wind, 
and are thus continually encroaching upon the arable. surface. It 
is believed, with good reason, to be the Land of Goshen, the ori- 
ginal settlement of the Israelites in Egvpt. Some ruins found at 
Aboukpshed are supposed to mark the site of Heroopolis, an ancient 
town of some importance, and usually identified with the Pithom of 
the Scriptures. 



Kccounts of 
the CaudL 


CHAP. IV. Mediterranean, or from two to three feet above low-watei 
at Ai-sinoe. 

Aristotle, Pliny, and Strabo, ascribe the cutting of this 
canal to Sesostris. The two former say it was abandoned 
in consequence of discovering that the waters of the Red 
Sea were on a higher level than the surface of the land 
in the Delta. Strabo mentions this opinion, but treats 
it as unfounded. Herodotus states that the design was 
first undertaken by Necos, the son of Psammeticus, about 
600 years before Christ, and was completed by Darius 
Hystaspes ; that the canal was filled by the water of the 
Nile, which it joined a Little above Bubastis ; and that 
it terminated in the Arabian Gulf, near the city of 
Patumos.* Diodorus hkewise uifonns us that the work 
was begun by Necos, carried on by Darius, but after- 
wards abandoned from the apprehension of the danger 
to which Egypt would be exposed by the waters of the 
Red Sea ; that it was completed by Ptolemy the Second ; 
that it extended fr-om the Gulf to the Bay of Pelusium ; 
and that it had sluices or gates, ingeniously constructed, 
which were opened to afford a passage to ships, and quickly 
shut again, + According to Strabo, certain lakes above 
Pelusium in the desert were connected w'th the Red Sea 
at Ai-siuoe by one channel, and with the l>elta by another. 
The water of these lakes, which was originally bittei', 
had been sweetened by the introduction ot that of the 
NUe. The' work, he adds, was completed by Ptolemy, 
who constructed a kind of lock or gate, which aflorded 
an easy passage from the sea to the canal, and from the 
canal to tlie sea.:!: Pliny states that the excavation 
reached only from the Nile to the Bitter Lakes, and was 
37,500 paces, or about tliirty-four English miles in 
length ; its extension southwards having been found to 
threaten Egypt with inundation, the soil of which was 
estimated to'be at least three cubits lower than the waters 
of the Red Sea.§ 



• Euteqje, 168. 
I Lib. xvii. 

t Lib. i. sect. i. 
5 Lib. xvi. c. 29. 


These statements, whicli are apparently contradictory, chap. iv. 
may be reconciled with one another by supposing that Reconcne- 
the canal had boon repeatedly opened from the Delta to ment of 
the Arabian Gulf ; but that, the communication to the stat"m°nts. 
sea being difficult, and only available for ships during a 
very limited period, this southern section of the work 
had been occasionally closed up again, and abandoned. 
The other section, includuig the Wady and the Bitter 
Lakes, would be serviceable for a much longer period, 
and might be kept more generally open. The difference 
of level between the river and the Red Sea was, it is 
obvious, perfectly understood ; and the waters of the 
latter, if admitted in sufficient quantity, would really 
have submerged the Delta, as Diodorus and Pliny be- 
lieved. In this, as in various other cases, we find that 
the statements of the ancient classical writei's, wliich by 
some moderns have been hastily rejected as fabulous, 
are strictly coiTect. 

The accounts wliich those authors have transmitted as Accuracy of 
to the dunensions of the canal are not very different accounts. 
from the results deduced from an examination of its 
remains. Herodotus says it required four days for a 
vessel to pass through it ; and as the length was about 
ninety-two miles, this supposes a day's sail to be twenty- 
three miles, — an estimate quite consistent with modem 
experience. It may be assumed that the vessels were 
towed, except in the Bitter Lakes, where sails were pro- 
bably employed. The same author states, that the canal width, 
w'as broad enough to admit two triremes to move abreast. 
Pliny calculates its width at 100 feet, and Strabo at 100 
cubits, or 150 feet. All three may be correct, because 
the breadth must have varied with the nature of the 
ground, and, as the vestiges still show, did actually vary 
from 100 to 200 feet or upwards. With regard to the pcptu. 
depth, tlie latter remarks that it was sufficient to afford 
water for the myriophoroi, or ships of the largest size. 
The former speaks more precisely, and mentions thirty 
feet. In fact, as the natural bottom of the canal, in the 
Wady Tomlat, must have been in many places several 


CHAP. IV. feet below the level of the Mediterranean, and as the 

walls must have had height enough to receive the floods 

of the river, which, in this valley, are compiited to rise 

to twenty-eight feet above that level, it is obvious that 

one portion of the •canal, during the inundation of the 

NUe, could not have less depth than the Roman naturalist 

assigns to it. 

ReconstTOc- About the year 644 of the Christian era, this water- 

Oma/ " '^ communication was re-established by the Caliph Omar 

on a greatly improved plan. Instead of being connected 

with the NUe at Bubastis, it was carried southward as 

far as the capital by a branch called the canal of Cairo. 

It is indeed doubtful whether this section did not exist 

as far back as the time of the Ptolemies, at least for the 

Contem- purpose of irrigation. Parts of it still remam ; and its 

ration by tiie complete restoration entered into the plan contemplated 

French. by ^j^g French. The navigation from the Nile to the 

Red Sea continued open, under the IMohammedan prmces, 

more than a hundred and twenty years. It has now been 

shut upwards of a thousand, though the project of re^ 

establishing so important a communication has been 

repeatedly submitted to the Turkish government. 

Estimates of Various estunates and measurements were made by 


engineers, the engineers under Bonaparte, who calculated that the 
expense of once more connecting the Nile and the Red 
Sea, by means of a regular canal, would not exceed 
£700,000 sterling, and that the work might be accom- 
plished in four years. Were this undertaking completed, 
and steam- vessels employed, it is probable that the voy- 
age from England to Bombay, which at present occupies 
about 120 days, might be performed in less than forty.* 
We reserve for another chapter an account of the 
ruins, more strictly architectural, which continue to 
mark the position of the ancient cities, especially in the 
upper division of the kingdom. 

• See an able article in the Edinbursjh Philosophical Journal, 
No. xxvi. p. 474, by Charles IMaclaren, Esq., and drawn up on the 
authority of the statements contained in the Description de I'Egi/pte, 
— a work sanctioned by the French government. 



Literature and Science of the Ancient Egyptians. 

Remains of Ef^tian Literature scanty "but valuable — Cleaning of 
Hieroglyphics — Picture-writing — Progress towardsan Alphabet ; 
Illustrated by the Hebrew and other Oriental Tongues — Different 
Modes of Writing practised by the Egyptians, Epistolographic, 
Hieratic, and Hieroglyphic properly so called — Discovery of Ro- 
setta Stone — Researches of Dr Young and Champollion — The 
Practice of Chinese in rendering Words Phonetic — The Advan- 
tages of the Hieroglyphical Method — Discoveries of ^Ir Salt — 
Anecdote of King Thamus — Works of Thoth or Hermes— Quo- 
tation of Clemens Alexandrinus — Greeks learned History from 
Egypt — The Numerical System of the ancient Egyptians — The 
Arabians derived their Arithmetical Signs from Egyptians. 

The materials for this section of our work are neither chap. v. 
abundant nor various ; but they are, nevertheless, ex- paudty~of 
tremel}' interesting, and point out, in a manner free materials. 
from all ambiguity, the first steps taken by man in his 
attempts to communicate his thoughts through the me- 
dium of written language. The literature of ancient 
Egj-pt, we must admit, does not, like that of Greece, Qree^Md'* 
call forth our admiration by splendid poems and regular Hebrew 
histories ; nor, like that of the Hebrews, by preserving 
the events of the primeval world in a record dictated by 
the Spirit of Truth. But, notwithstandmg, in the brief 
notices which have come down to our age of the methods 
adopted by the early Eg}-ptians for giving pennauency 
to their conceptions, we have a treasure wliich, to the 
philosopher, is more valuable than the sublime verses of 
Homer, and, in a merely grammatical point of view, not 




System of 

Meaning- of 
the term. 

Origin of 


picture writ- 

inferior to the inspired narrative of Moses itself. "We 
allude to the system of hierogl^'phics ; the knowledge of 
which is very important, hoth as exhibiting authentic 
.specimens of picture-writing, — the original expedient 
of the rude annalist, — and also as indicating the path 
which led to that nobler invention, — the use of an 

The term hieroglyph literally denotes sacred sculpture, 
and was employed by the Greeks in reference to those 
figures and inscriptions which they found engraven on 
the temples, sepulchres, and other public buildings of 
Egj-pt. The practice, however, out of which it arose, 
appears to be common to the whole human race in the 
first stage of civilisation ; being dictated to them by 
necessity, and suggested by the most obvious associations. 
Man learns to paint before he attempts to vrriie ; he 
draws the outline of a figure long before he is able to 
describe an event ; he confines his representations to ths 
eye during ages in which he can find no more direct 
means of addressing the understanding, or of amusing the 
fancy. In the beginning of society, all communication 
not strictly verbal is carried on through the medium of 
picture-writing ; and this imperfect method continues in 
all countries until a happy accident, or the visit of a more 
refined people, makes known the secret of alphabetical 

"When, for example,' the Spaniards first landed on the 
shores of America, the event was announced to the inha- 
bitants of the interior by rough drawings of men, arms, 
and ships ; some specimens of which have been preserved 
by Purchas, to whose laborious diligence we are indebted 
for the best account of European discovery and conquest 
in the western hemisphere. But, generally speaking, 
the aid of an alphabet so completely supersedes the more 
primitive usage, that, in most countries, all traces of the 
latter are speedily forgotten ; and it is onl} by a remote 
and rather indistinct species of reasoning, that the phi- 
losophical grammarian endeavours to connect the refined 
literature of a polished age with the rude efforts made 


l\y the savage to embody his thoughts in external signs, chap. v. 
The monuments of Egypt, from their extreme durability, vainTof 
supply a history, which nowhere else exists, of the sue- Egyptian 
cessive steps that conduct mankind from the first point ™ 
to the last, in the important art now under our consider- 
ation. Our limits will not permit us to enter into an 
investigation which would itself occupy an entire volume ; 
we shall therefore confine ourselves to a general state- 
ment of first principles, and to such an illustration of 
them as may prove intelligible to the young reader, who 
may not have other opportunities of studying this im- 
portant subject. 

The first and simplest expedient, then, is that already First process 
mentioned, of attempting to convey and perpetuate the "* '«^"i"&- 
knowledge of an event by forming a rude picture of it. 
The inconvenience inseparable from such a method would 
soon suggest the practice of reducing the delineation, and 
of substituting a sword for an anned man, a flag for an 
invading host, and a curved line for a ship. In the earlier 
stages of contraction, the abbreviated forms would still con^-actiona 
retain a faint resemblance to the original figure ; but in 
process of time, as the number of ideas and relations 
increased, the signs would deviate farther from the like- 
ness of an object, and assume more and more the cha- 
racter of a conventional mark, expressive of thought as 
well as of mere existence. At this era, however, which 
may be regarded as the second in order, every sign 
would continue to be a separate word, denoting some 
individual thing, together with all the circumstances and 
associated reflections vrliich could be conveyed by so 
imperfect a vehicle. 

It may here be noticed that the language of Chuia at ciiinese 
the present day retains the aspect now described. At- lang"-'se. 
tached to old habits, or repelled from imitation by the 
contempt which usually attaches to ignorance, the people 
of that vast empu'e refuse to adopt the gi-ammatical im- 
provements of Europe, which would lead them to ana- 
lyze their ^Titten speech into its alphabetical elements. 
Tlieir composition, accordingly, stiU consists of a set of 





Progress of 



Results of the 


words or marks expressive of certain ideas ; becoming, of 
course, more complicated as tlie thouglits to be conveyed 
are more numerous or subtile, and requiring, at length, 
a great degree of very painful and unprofitable study to 
comprehend their full import. 

The third and most valuable movement in the progress 
of grammatical invention, is that wliich provides a sign 
for expressing a sound instead of denoting a thing, and 
dissects human speech into letters instead of stopping at 
words. The apparatus for accomplishing this object 
appears to have been at the first sufficiently awkward 
and inconvenient. In order to write the name of a man, 
for example, the ingenuity of the Egyptian pliilologist 
could suggest nothing more suitable than to aiTange, in 
a given space, a certain number of objects, the initial let- 
ters of which, when pronounced, would furnish the seve- 
ral sounds required. For instance, if a person following 
that scheme of notation wished to record that Pompey 
had landed in Egypt, he would describe the action by 
the wonted signs employed in picture-writing ; but to 
express the appellation of the general, he wc)uld find it 
necessary to draw as many objects as would supply in 
the first letters of their names, P, o, m, p, e, y. In writ- 
ing the word London, on this principle, we might take 
the figures of a /ion, of an oak, of a ??et, of a doox, of an 
oval, and of a nail ; the initial sounds or first letters of 
which words would give the name of the British capital. 

After a certain period there arose, from these modified 
Iiieroglyphs, a regular alphabet constructed so as to re- 
present and express the various sounds uttered by the 
human voice. This invention, being subsequently com- 
municated to the Greeks, contributed in a great measure 
to their improvement, and laid the foundation of their 
literary fame. The gift of Cadmus, who conveyed six- 
teen letters across the Mediterranean, is celebrated in 
the traditional history of the nation upon whom it was 
conferred ; and hence the arrival of that renowned 
adventurer from the coast of Egypt continues to be men- 
tioned as the epoch when civilisation and a knowledge 


of tlie fine arts were first received by the barbarians of chap. v. 
eastern Europe. The trading communities, wliich liad Ancient 
ah-eadv stationed themselves on the shores of Si'ria, were "ading 

•' 11T communities 

probably, as we have elsewhere suggested, the medium 
of intercourse between Egypt and Greece, — a supposition 
which enables us to account for the sunUarity, observed 
by every scholar, in the more ancient form of their al- 
phabetical characters. But, whatever ground there may 
be for this conjecture, tliere is no doubt that the process 
detected in the Egyptian monuments reveals the import- 
ant secret which the j^hilosopliical grammarian has so 
long laboured to discover. 

As a proof, and at the same time an illustration of the Hebrew 
argument now advanced, we may recall to the mind of 
the oriental student that the alphabet of the Hebrew, as 
well as of the other cognate tongues, is in fact a list of 
names, and that the original form of the letters bore a 
resemblance to the objects which they were used to ex- 
press. Aleph, Beth, Gimel, which in the common lan- 
guage of the country denoted an ox, a house, a camel. Their origin, 
were at first pictures or rude likenesses of a dwelling and 
of the two animals just specified ; proceeding on the very 
familiar system, not yet exploded in books for children, 
where an ass, a bull, and a cat, are associated with the 
three first letters of the Roman alphabet. The process 
of abbreviation, which is rapidly applied b}^ an improving 
people to all the technical properties of language, soon 
substituted an arbitrary sign for the complete portrait, 
and restricted the use of the alphabetical symbol to the 
representation of an elementary sound. 

But m Egypt the use of the hieroglyph was not entii'cly Esj-ptian 
superseded by the invention of an alphabet. For many for embie^ 
purposes connected with religion, and even with the more piat'c wiit. 
solemn occupations of civU life, the emblematical style 
of composition contmued to enjoy a preference ; on a 
principle similar to that which disposes the Jew to per- 
form his worship in Hebrew, and the Roman Catholic 
in Latin. There appears also to have been a mixed 
language used by the priests, partakmg at once of hiero 





of Clemeus 


glyphs and of alphabetical characters ; which, in allusion 
to the class of men by whom it was employed, was de- 
nominated hieratic. The Egyptians accordingly found 
themselves in possession of three different modes of com- 
munication, — the hieroglypliic, properly so called ; the 
liieratic ; and the demotic or common. Tliis distinction 
is clearly recognised in the following well-known passage, 
extracted from the works of Clemens Alexandriuus. 

Those who are educated among the Egyptians, says 
he, learn first of all the method of wi-itmg called the 
Epistolographic ; secondly, the Hieratic, which the sacred 
scribes employ ; and, lastly, the most mysterious de- 
scription, the Hieroglyphic, of which there are two kinds, 
— the one denoting objects, in a direct manner, by means 
of the initial sounds of words ; the other is symbolical. 
Of the symbolical signs one class represents objects by 
exhibiting a likeness or picture ; another, by a meta- 
phorical or less complete resemblance ; and a thii'd, by 
means of certain allegorical enigmas. Thus, — to give 
an example of the three methods in the symbolical divi- 
sion, — when they wish to represent an object by the 
first, they fix upon a distinct resemblance ; such as a 
circle, when they want to indicate the sun, and a cres- 
cent, when their purpose is to denote the moon. The 
second, or metaphorical, allows a considerable freedom 
in selecting the emblem, and may be such as only sug- 
gests the object by analogous qualities. For instance, 
when they record the praises of kings in their theologi- 
cal fables, i\\ej exhibit them in connexion with figura- 
tive allusions which shadow forth their good actions and 
benign dispositions. In this case the representation is 
not direct but metaphorical. Of the third method of 
symbolical writing, the following wUl serve as an ex- 
ample : they assimilate the oblique course of tlie planets 
to the body of a serpent, and that of the sun to the 
figure of a scarabaeus.* 

* I have given a paraphrase rather than a Utcral version; the 
original not admitting of a strict rendering without sacrificing the 
sense of the author, which alone 1 have endeavoured to retain. 


In the above extract there is mention made of that CHAP, v 
species of hieroglyphics wliich express objects by the phonetic 
initial lettem, — a remark that is now perfectly intelli- enigma, 
gible, but which, till the year 1814, presented a most 
pei-plexing enigma to the ablest scholars in Europe. It 
does not properly belong to the business of this chap- 
ter to give a liistory of the various steps that finally led 
to a discovery of the path which promised to conduct 
the scholar to the richest treasures of ancient Egyptian 
learning ; but as the subject is of considerable interest, 
and affords at the same time a striking instance of the 
success which hai'dly ever fails to reward an enlightened 
perseverance, we shall enter into a few details. 

When the French were in Ea-ypt they discovered, in The Rosetta 
the foundation of a fort near Rosetta, a block or slab of 
basalt, which presented an inscription in thi-ee distinct 
languages, namely, the sacred letters, the letters of the 
country, and the Greek. The first class obviously com- 
prehends the hieroglyphic and hieratic, the mode of 
writing used by the priests ; ■wliile the second not less 
manifestly identifies itself with what Clemens calls the 
Epistolographic, and which is now usually particularized 
as demotic or common. Unfortunately a considerable itsdeficien- 
part of the first inscription was wanting ; the beginning of ^^^^ 
the second and the end of the thu'd were also mutilated ; 
60 that there were no precise points of coincidence from 
which the expounder could set out in his attempt to 
decipher the unkno^^^l charactei-s. But the second in- 
scription, notwithstanding its deficiencies near the be- 
ginning, was still sufficiently perfect to allow a compari- 
son to be made of its different parts with each other, 

and with the Greek, by the same method which would Compari^nn 
, ' .' of the in- 

have been followed if it had been entire. Thus, on ex- scription. 
amining, in their relative situation, the pai-ts corre- 
sponding to two passages of the Greek inscription in 
which Alexander and Alexandria occurred, there were 
soon recognised two well-marked groups of characters 
resembling each other, -which were therefore considered 
as representing these names. A variety of sunilar coin- 



Process of 

Dr. Thomas 

CHAP. V. cidences were detected, and especially that between a 
Coincidences cei'tain assemblage of figures and the word Ptolemj", 
detected. wliich occurred no fewer than fourteen tunes ; and hence, 
as the Greek was knoAvn to be a translation of the Egyp- 
tian sj^Tubols, the task of the decipherer Avas limited to 
a discover}' of the alphabetical power of the several 
marks, or objects, which denoted tliat particular name. 
It was by pursuing this path that success was ultimately 
attained ; it being satisfactorily^ made out that hieroglyphs 
not only expressed ideas, or rejiresented things, but also 
that they were frequently used as letters ; and that, 
Avhen employed for the last of these purposes, the names 
of the several objects in the Coptic or ancient language 
of the country supplied the alphabetical sounds which 
composed any particular word. 

The first steps which led to this important discovery 
were made by Dr Young, who ascertained that certain 
figui-es in the grouj), corresponding to the Avord Ptolemy, 
were used alphabetically, and represented sounds. Henca 
the distinction of phonetic or vocal hierogh'phs as op- 
posed to those which are understood to denote objects 
only. It Avas fondly hoped that a "key was thereby found 
for unlocking the storehouses of Egyj)tian learning, 
which had remamed inaccessible to many generations ; 
and, Avhether the treasure shall prove equal in value to 
the expectations wliich have been entertamed of it, 
there is stUl, it is thought, the greatest probability that 
the famed wisdom of one of the most ancient nations of 
the world sliall yet be rendered familiar to tlie modern 
reader. Already, indeed, Ave are told that history and 
chronology have received essential aid from the mvesti- 
gations of recent travellers, guided by the liglit Avhich 
has just been rcA-ealed. The names of some of the most 
distinguished Egyptian princes, even of the Pharaonic 
djmasties, have been deciphered from monuments erect- 
ed duidng their respective reigns. The canon of Ma- 
netho, Avhich it had become so common to treat with 
contempt, has been verified in many points ; and in this 
Avay the titles of several monarchs which had been aban- 



dnne<l as fabulous, including MispliraginuthosLs, Ameno- CHAP. V. 
pliis, Ramesses, and Sesostris, are once more restored to 
the page of authentic history, and to their place in the 
succession of Egyptian sovereigns. 

Nothing, perhaps, connected with this mteresting sub- singular 
ject, is more surprising than that the priests of Heliopolis ^^^rogly-*^ *° 
and Jlemphis should have continued to use imitative and pMcs. 
s}Tnbolic hieroglj'plis so long after they had become ac- 
quainted with the more convenient apparatus of alpha- 
betical writing. But this fact, which might otherwise 
appear incredible, finds a counterpart in the practice of 
the Cliinese, who, as we have already mentioned, retain Correspond- 
even at the present day a modified species of hierogly- ^f the 
phics, — ^a literary notation that denotes things or ideas, Chinese 
instead of expressing soimds, — and which they likewise 
can render phonetic at pleasure. When, for example, they 
have occasion to indicate any foreign combination of vocal 
sounds, such as the name of a European object or per- 
son, they attach a certain mark to their words, and thereby 
convert them into letters ; the initial consonavtoHhe seve- 
ral terms supplying the successive alphabetical articula- 
tions necessary to foiTU the noun in question. At this 
stage all the difficulty of the invention is conquered. The 
moment that men have learned to denote, b}- a visible 
sign, a sound as well as a sensation or an event, they 
have acquired possession of an alphabet ; and then no- 
thing more is requisite except to abbreviate the figures 
so as to make them convenient for the rapid uses of or- 
dinary life, — to dismiss the picture, in short, and substi- 
tute an arbitrary mark, according to the practice of Eu- 
ropean nations. But the ancient Egyptians, like the Imperfect 
modem Cliinese, thought proper to rest satisfied with of^^ft^ng!" 
one-half of the advantages ^\liich their ingenuity had 
earned ; contmuing, for ages after they had acquired the 
knowledge of phonetic characters, to intersperse them 
with the imitative and s^inbolical figures which in every 
other country those others have completely superseded. 

Leaving it to the historian of this remarkable discovery 
to detail the incidents which accompanied the investiga- 






Nurnbei- of 



Principle of 

tions of Dr Young, Silvestre de Sacy, Akerblad, Salt, 
and Champollion, we confine ourselves to the statement 
of the important fact that, from a copious induction of 
instances, extending in some cases to several hundreds 
for a single character, the last of these authors arrived at 
the conclusion that every phonetic hierogl}'ph is the im- 
age of some physical object whose name, in the spoken 
language of ancient Egj-pt, begins with the sound or 
letter which the sculptured figure was destined to repre- 
sent. Thus the image of an eagle, which in the Coptic 
is Ahom, became the sign of the vowel A ; that of a small 
vase, called Bei'he in Eg\-ptian, stood for the consonant 
B ; that of a hand. Tot, represented the letter T ; that 
of a hatchet, Kelehin, was the sign of the consonant K ; 
that of a lion or lioness, Labo, the sign of the consonant 
L ; that of a nycticorax, Mouladj, the sign of M ; that 
of a flute, Sebiandjo, the sign of the consonant S ; that of 
a mouth, Ro, the sign of the coasonant R ; and the 
abridged image of a garden, Skene, the sign of the com- 
pound articulation Sh. 

It is obvious from the statement now made, that, as 
there are a great many objects the names of which begin 
with the same letter, an author using phonetic hiero- 
glyphs must have had a wide field in which to select his 
characters. Some of the letters were in fact represented 
by fifteen and even by twenty-five different figures. M. 
Champollion held the opinion that, in writing the arti- 
culated sounds of a word, the Egyptians chose, among 
the great number of characters which they were at 
liberty to employ, those figures which by their qualities 
represented such ideas as had a relation to the object 
which they meant to express. For example, in desig- 
nating the name of Noub, one of their deities, they se- 
lected, to express the letter B, the figure of a ram in 
preference to any other sign, because the ram was by 
itself a symbol of this deity ; so much so indeed, that 
we often find him represented under the figure of a man, 
with the head of that animal. For the same reason, to 
express the letter N, they chose from among the several 


characters employed for the purpose the sign of a vase, chap. V. 
because it was usual to represent this god with one of illustrations. 
these vessels lying at his feet. Again, the lion, which in 
Coptic was called Laho, stood for the letter L ; and 
tliough this sound was represented by several other 
signs, the Egj^tians, in writing the name of Ptolemy, and 
afterwards of the Roman emperors, uniformly employed 
the figure of that noble animal, to denote, no doubt, the 
con-esponding quaUties in their powerful and magnani- 
mous sovereigns. 

An author was thus enabled to combine with a name Advan- 
the character of the mdividual to whom it applied, — pos- syffeni. 
sessing through this medium an instrument of the most 
delicate flattery. Perhaps it may have been solely fof 
such reasons that hieroglyphs continued to be used foi 
inscriptions and legends, in preference to the bare nota- 
tion of alphabetical signs, long after the superior con- 
venience belonging to the latter, for merely literary pur- 
poses, must have been universally appreciated. 

We may observ^e, too, that in writing hieroglyphically DiffKient 
the figures may be placed in four diiFerent ways, and are langement 
often found so arranged on the same monument. They 
are either in perpendicular lines, and may be read from 
right to left or from left to right ; or they are in a hori- 
zontal direction, following the same variety as to the 
mode of reading. Two rules, however, have been given 
to detennine which way any inscription or papyrus is to 
be deciphered. The first is, that in hieroglypliical manu- 
scripts the characters are for the most part placed in per- 
pendicular lines ; while in sculptures and paintings, espe- 
cially when they refer to persons, the signs are marshal- Ojder oJ 
led horizontally. The second rale, equally general and 
equally useful, is, that every inscription, manuscript, or 
legend of any kind whatever, is to be read from the side 
towards which are turned the heads of the animals or 
the angular edges of the characters. Thus a line of 
hierogl}'phs is like a regular procession, in which all the 
images of the several objects follow the march of the 
initial sign ; and it was probably to point out this direc- 



CHAP. y. 

and Chinese 

lion's re- 

tion that all the figures of men and of the lower 
animals, whether birds, reptiles, insects, or quadrupeds, 
have been designed in profile. 

After what has been narrated, it is scarcely necessary 
to observe that the learning of an Egyptian, like the 
similar acqukements of a modem Chinese, would be 
measured by the number of ideographic signs which he 
was able to interpret. This remark, it is true, applies 
almost exclusively to the figurative and symbolic classes 
which, instead of sounds, denoted tilings or qualities. 
But as there were scarcely any pieces of composition 
executed entirely in phonetic characters, and without a 
considerable intermixture of the two others, the means 
of acquiring knowledge among the subjects of the Pha- 
raohs tnust have been extremely limited. Perhaps, at a 
more advanced period of hieroglyphical discovery, we 
shall find that many of the signs, which are at present 
esteemed symbolical, were also used alphabetically, — an 
expectation wliich has unquestionablj^ been rendered 
more probable by certain investigations recently made 
among the ancient monuments of Egypt. 

Champollion anived at the following important con- 
clusions, founded on personal research, and in some 
degree corresponding to the results published by other 
travellers : — 

1. That the phonetic alphabet can be applied with 
success to the legends of every epoch indiscriminately, 
and is the true key of the whole hierogl^'phical system. 

2. That the ancient Egyptians constantly employed 
this alphabet to represent the soxmd of the words in 
their language. 

3. That all hieroglyphical inscriptions are composed 
of signs, which, for the greatest part, are purely alpha- 

4. That these alphabetical signs are of three different 
kinds, — the demotic or common, the hieratic or sacred, 
and the hieroglyphic properly so called. 

And, lasthj, that the principles of this graphic system 
aic precisely those wliich were in use among the ancient 


Egyptians. The hieroglyphical alphabet which he dis- chap, v 
covered includes nearly nine hundred characters, some njer^-phie 
of which are exclusively phonetic, but the greater num- aipbabet. 
ber appear also to combine the properties of the figura- 
tive and the symbolical orders. 

We cannot leave this interesting subject without men- Disonvpry of 
tioning a discovery made by ISIr Salt, which proves that ^^' ''''''■ 
phonetic characters were in use as early as the reign of 
Psammeticus, — an inference, indeed, which has been 
since extended to a much remoter period of Egj'ptian 
history. It had been suggested, that as these characters 
were applied to the names of foreign monarchs — the 
Ptolemies and Roman emperors — so in all probability, 
if known at the time, they would like^vise have been 
made use of in expressing the names of the Etliiopian 
sovereigns who had previously held the country in sub- 
jection. The result has proved the soundness of this con- 
jecture. From some sketches made at Abydos, he was 
fortunate enough to decipher the name of 2ABAKO or 
2ABAKO<1>0, with the same termination which was 
afterwards found in AMENO<I>0 ; and in an inscription, 
taken from the back of a small portico at Medinet Abou, 
he discovered the name of TIPAKA, who he imagines 
can be no other than " Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia, 
who came out to make war against Sennacherib, king of 

If this supposed identity be admitted, it will prove Ancient nse 
that the phonetic characters were in use more than seven ''' P"""etic9. 
hundred years before Christ, and it would also establish 
the reign of a sovereign named in the Bible, of whose ex- 
istence some learned men have been inclined to doubt. 
Nor did Mr Salt's discoveries stop here. Upon the liigh 
granitic rocks of Elephantine, and also on a large column 
in front of the great Temple of Karnac, he made out, 
with the utmost ease, from beneath the obti-usive name 
of a Ptolemy, the appellation of IISAMITIK written 
phonetically. This name is also sculptured on one of 

• 2 Kings xix. 9. 

remote era 


tli6 smaller femples at Eleitliias, and on the Campensian 
obelisk, as well as on tliat in Monte Citorio. But we 
estabiidied! have already remarked that the use of phonetic s}Tnbols 
can be satisfactorily traced back as far as the reign of 
Misphragmuthosis, — ^fifteen centuries at least before the 
Christian era.* 

• We refer, once for all, to the followinfr treatises as the source* 
of our information on Hieroglyphics: — The article ''Egypt," in 
Supplement to Ency. Brit. An Account of some Recent Discoveries 
in Hieroglyphical Literature and Egyptian Antiquities, &c. by 
Thomas Young. M.D., F.R.S. Lettre a IM. Dacier, relative a 
VAlphabetdes Hieroglyphes Phonetiques, &c. par IM. Champollion 
le Jeunc. Precis du Systeme Hieroglyphique des Anciens Egypti- 
ens, &c. par le meme Auteur. Lettres a M. le Due de Blacas 
d'Aulps. &c. relatives au Musee Royal Egyptien de Turin. Essay 
on Dr Young's and M. ChampoUion's Phonetic System of Hiero- 
glyphics, &c. by Henry Salt, Esq. Article Hieroglyphics, in Edin. 
Review, vol. slv. p. 96. Lectures on the Elements of Hierogly- 
phics and Egyptian Antiquities, by the JNlarquis Spineto. Wilkin- 
son's Materia Hieroglyphica. Analyse Grammaticale Raisonnee 
de difiFerens Textes Anciens Egyptiens. Par Francois Salvolini. 
Volume Premier. La Grammaire Egyptienne, par M. Champollion. 
This last is a posthumous publication, and contains the result of 
the author's previous labours. 

The last work which has fallen under our observation is that of 
Salvolini, the Grammatical Analysis of the different ancient Egyp- 
tian Texts ; or, in other words, an exposition of hieroglyphical 
inscriptions. His plan is so very comprehensive as to extend to 
three volumes quarto, the first of which is devoted to the several 
texts on the Rosetta stone. The second, he informs his readers 
(for only part of the first volume has yet appeared), will embrace 
inscriptions of a funereal or religious character; those of a strictly 
historical nature will be considered in the third. It is his resolution, 
however, not to confine his observations to the wearisome details of 
grammatical analysis, but also, from the various inscriptions, to throw 
light both upon the leading cioctrines of Egyptian philosophy, and 
on some of the more interesting events recorded in the national an- 
nals. His own words are : — " Mon intention etait d'offrir aux sa- 
vans une espece de bibliotheque eg)'ptienne, en meme terns qu'un 
veritable commentaire siir la langue et les eeritures hicroglyphiques. 
— Les principes adoptus pour la methode que j'allais suivre dans 
mes interpretations etaient les memes dont feu Champollion avail 
public la decouverte bien des annees auparavant. Ces principes, 
je le savais, n'avaient pas cesse d'etre un sujet de contestations de 
la part des savans de I'Europe ; des opinions defavorables avaient 
couru relativement a la realice et a I'etendu des decouvertes de mon 
illustre maitre. Je ne me dissimulais par I'importance qu'il y aurait 
eu a iustifier completement et une fois pour toutes ses principes ; je 


Some readers, it is presumed, will value this discovery chap, v 
more because it seems to withdraw the veil that had popular 
long concealed the origin of alphabetical writing, than estimate of 
for any light wliich it may prove the means of throwing very. 
upon the literature of the ancient Egyptians. In truth, 
when we call to mind that the scheme of interpretation 
is limited almost exclusively to proper names, we shall 
not indulge a too sanguine hope as to the result of its 
applications to narrative or description. But there can 
be no doubt that the Greeks were accustomed to attri- Greek ideas. 
bute to the priests of the Nile the merit of having first 
introduced the knowledge of letters as the representa- 
tives of vocal sounds. Plato, for example, relates that, 
during the reign of King Thamus, his secretary Thoth 
came to lay before him the discoveries he had made, 
amongst which was the invention of the alphabet ; and 
he consulted the king whether it might be expedient to 
make it public. His majesty, who saw the full value of Assumed 
the disclosure, was particularly opposed to the plan of* 
recommending it to general use, and, like a true politician, 
concealed the real cause, while he assigned one more re- 
mote and secondaiy, why he wished that it should be 
kept secret. He therefore told his ingenious minister, 
that if the new mode of writing should be di\'ulged the 
people would no longer pay any attention to liiero- 
glj'phics ; and as these would consequently be soon for- 

sentis qu'il fallait pour cela reprendre, pour ainsi dire, en soi:3» 
oeuvre, son systeme d'interpretation. Las deux volumes d' Analyse 
Gramntaticale dont i'ai deja parle, pour Tinterpretation dequelques 
parties du rituel funeraire et des diverses inscriptions qui nous 
restent sur les nionumens sculpt es, auraient pu suflire pour atteindre 
unpareil but. Cependant, I'existence en Europe de lacelebre pierre 
de Rosette, veritable pierre de touche pour la question que je me 
proposais de resoudre, me determine a commencer men travail par 
['interpretation des deux testes egyptiens qu'elle renferme. C'est 
ainsi que cet ouvrage fut porte a trois volumes, dont le premier, 
celui que je public aujourd'hui, renfermera les premiers essais de 
Tapplication du systeme d'interpretation de feu Champollion aux 
textes hieroglyphirjue et demoti/jue de la pierre de Rosette. 

In the portion of his work here mentioned, Salvolini, I regret to 
say, throws no new light either on (he alphabet or grammar of the 
mystical language used by the priests of ancient Egypt. 





True cha- 
racter of hie- 

Foil}- of 
other tUco- 

Extent of 



gotten, the invention would, in its effects, prove one of 
the greatest obstacles to the progress of knowledge. 

Whatever may be the precise meaning of the passage 
now quoted, it seems reasonable to infer from it that, in 
the days of Plato, the Greeks ascribed to the philosophers 
of Egypt the honour of having devised a system of pho- 
netic signs, Avhich finally superseded the cumbrous ex- 
pedient of Avriting by pictures. It may likeAvise be con- 
cluded, although on grounds somewhat different, that 
hieroglyphics were not invented, after the use of letters had 
become known, with the view of concealing certain mys- 
teries fi'om the multitude, but that they were in fact the 
original mode of communication employed by all nations 
in the rude beginnings of society. To suppose that they 
were introduced for the sake of enhancing the paltry 
knowledge possessed by the priests, or for confining the 
lights of science to the privileged orders of the state, is 
an hypothesis contradicted by the most authentic histo- 
rical records ; while to assert that the Egyptians had 
letters before they had hieroglyphs, is not less absurd, 
it has been said, than to affimi that they danced before 
they could walk. On tliis question the only difficulty wc 
have to encounter, is to explain why they continued so 
long, in their public monuments and more solemn trans- 
actions, to use the ancient method after they had be- 
come acquainted with a scheme of notation so much 
better suited to all the purposes of literature. Perhaps 
certain notions of sanctity, similar to those entertained 
by the Jews with regard to the name of the Supreme 
Being, may have prevented the priests of Pharaoh from 
revealing the attributes of their gods in the -vulgar idiom 
of the countr}'. 

In reference to the knowledge actually acquired of 
the literature of ancient Egj-pt, by means of the late 
discoveries in hieroglyphics, we are not entitled to speak 
in boastful or very confident language. The wasting 
hand of time, which has rendered its effects visible even 
on the pyramids, has entirely destroyed the more perish- 
able materials to which the sages of Thebes and the 


magicians of [Memphis may have committed the science CHAP. v. 
of their several generations. We know, too, that the Destruction 
bigotry of ignorance and of superstition accomplished, in of Egyptian 
many cases, what the flood of years had permitted to 
escape ; for which reason we must not estimate the ex- 
tent of acquii'ement among the wise men of Egypt by 
the scanty remains of their labours which have been 
casually rescued from accident and violence. From Dio- Eg>-ptian 
donis Siculus we receive the information, that in the manuscnpts 
tomb of Osymandias were deposited twenty thousand 
volumes, — a number which is reduced by Manetho to 
three thousand five hundred and twenty-five, — all of 
which, on account of their antiquity or the importance of 
their subjects, were ascribed to Thoth or Hermes, who, 
it is well kno^\'n, united in his character the intelligence 
of a divinity with the patriotism of a faithful minister. 

Of these works, which unquestionably belong to a Clemens ot 
very remote antiquity, we have a short account supplied ^^^^ "" 
by a Christian bishop, Clemens of Alexandria, who ap- 
pears to have devoted much attention to the learning of 
the ancient Egyptians. " In that country," he tells us, 
" every individual cultivates a different branch of philo- 
sophy, — an arrangement which applies chiefly to their 
holy ceremonies. In such processions the Singer occu- 
pies the first place, carrying in his hand an instrument 
of music. He is said to be obliged to learn two of the Processioa 
books of Hermes ; one of which contains hymns ad- 
dressed to the gods, and the other the rules by which a 
prince ought to govern. Next comes the Horoscopus, 
holding a clock and the branch of a palm-tree, which 
are the symbols of astrology. He must be completely 
master of the four books of Hermes which treat of that 
science. One of these explains the order of tlie fixed 
stars ; the second, the motion and phases of the sun and 
moon ; the other two detennine the times of their perio- 
dical rising. Then follows the Hicrogrammatist, or The liiero- 
sacred scribe, with two feathers on his head, and a book erammatist. 
and ruler in his hand, to which are added tlie instru- 
ments of writmg — some ink and a reed. He must know 



CHAP. V what are called hieroglyphics, and those branches of 
Uis acquire- Science which belong to cosmography, geography, and 
meuts. astronomy, especially the laws of the sun, moon, and 

five planets ; he must be acquainted with the territorial 
distribution of Egypt, the course of the Nile, the furni- 
ture of the temples and of all consecrated places. After 
these is an officer denominated Stolistes, who bears a 
square-rule as the emblem of justice, and the cup for 
libations. His charge includes every tiling which be- 
longs to the education of youth, as well as to sacrifices, 
first-fruits, the selecting of cattle for worship, hymns, 
prayers, religious pomps, festivals, and commemorations ; 
the rules for which are contained in ten books. This 
The proj.het. functionary is succeeded by one called the Pi'ophet, who 
displays in his bosom a jar or vessel, meant for carrying 
water, — a symbol thought to represent the deity, but 
which, more probably, had a reference to the sacred 
character of the Nile. He is attended by pei-sons bear- 
ing bread cut into slices. The duty of the prophet made 
it necessary for him to be perfectly acquainted with the ten 
books called sacerdotal, and which treat of the laws of 
the gods, and of the whole discipline of the priesthood. 
He also presides over the distribution of the sacred re- 
venue ; that is, the income arisuig from the performance 
of pious rites, and dedicated to tlie support of religious 
institutions. Hence there are forty-two books of Her- 
mes, the knowledge of which is absolutely necessary ; 
of these, thirty-six, containing the whole philosophy of 
the Egyptians, are carefully studied by the persons whom 
we have mentioned ; and the remaining six are learned 
by the Pastophori, or inferior priests, as tliey belong to 
anatomy, to nosology, to instruments of surgery, to phar- 
macy, to the diseases of the eye, and to the maladies of 

This distribution of the sciences does not enable us to 
determine either the principles on which they were 
founded or the extent to which they were pursued. We 

Books of 

of this ex 

Clemen. Alexandrin. Strom, lib. vi. p. 633. 


possess a better criterion in the perfection to which the chap. v. 
people of Egypt, at a very early period, had carried some 
of those arts which have a close dependence upon scien- 
tific deductions. The prodigies of Thebes could not have N'ecessaiy 
been accomplished by a nation ignorant of mathematics inents. 
and chemistry ; nor could the pyramids, the obelisks, 
and the monolithic temples, which still meet the eye of 
the traveller in almost every spot between Elephantine 
and the mouths of the Nile, have been raised without the 
aid of such mechanical powers as have their origin in 
the calculations of philosoph3^ 

It seems possible that, in the lapse of ages, a country Probable 
shall lose the science upon which the arts must have tio'r^""^ 
been founded, while the arts themselves shall remaia as 
an hereditary bequest from father to son. The Chinese 
are in such a condition at present ; and so perhaps were 
the Egyptians immediately before the jMacedonian con- 
quest. But as the practical excellence of several of the 
arts in China satisfies us that the light of scientific know- Comparison 
ledge must at one time have shone in that vast empire, ^^'"'^ China. 
Bo might we be convinced, on the same gi'ounds, that the 
artisans of Egypt were instructed by men who had made 
great progress in the various branches of natural philo- 
sophy. We are in fact informed by ]\Ianetho, that one of 
the Pharaohs, the grandfather of Psammeticus, and the 
sage Petosiris his contemporary, wrote valuable treatises 
on astronomy, astrology, and medicine. The last of these Scienti?.c 
works is mentioned even by Galenus and Aetius, while "^'''^^ 
that on astronomy is alluded to both by Eusebius and 
Pliny ; though it is not improbable that they were al- 
tered by the sophists of Alexandria, who began to flourish 
under the reigns of the Ptolemies. It is asserted that 
the royal author and his philosophical colleague under- 
took to explain the creation of the world, as well as 
the influences exerted upon the human frame by the 
heavenly bodies ; but, when we reflect upon the channel 
through which tliis account has reached us, we must not 
draw hasty conclusions with regard to the physics of the 
ancient Egyptian school. 





of reg:ular 

of Herodotus 

of Greek 

Tatian relates that the Greeks learned how to write 
history from j^erusing the Egyptian annals. This asser- 
tion appears to be well founded ; it being manifest that, 
from the most remote antiquity, the latter people had 
adopted the custom of transmitting to posterity the 
memory of past events. Originally they seem to have 
written their chronicles in verse, and inscribed them on 
stones in hieroglyphical characters ; but, at a certain 
time after the invention of the alphabet, they adopted 
prose and began to form regular books, though they still 
retained the custom of celebrating, in lyric measure, the 
praises of their gods and heroes. It seems, indeed, ac- 
cording to the account of the industrious and learned 
Zoega, who has collected all the authorities of ancient 
writers on this subject, that historical treatises were very 
numerous in Egypt, and that the care of cop^'ing them 
constituted one of the principal duties which devolved 
upon the sacred scribes. Herodotus himself informs us, 
that he acquired all his knowledge of their country from 
the priests, who read to him from a book the names of 
three hundred and thirty kings who had reigned between 
Menes and Sesostris. Theophrastus, too, who may be 
regarded as writing from personal knowledge, concurs in 
the views just stated. !Manetho, again, assures his read- 
ers that he compiled his work from authentic records. 
Diodorus, a writer of the highest credit, refers not only 
to histories in the Egyptian language, but to commen- 
taries and illustrations, — a fact confirmed by Josephus 
and Strabo, the latter of whom even praises the simpli- 
city of their style. It was from these sources that the 
Greek authors, Eratosthenes, Agatharchides, Artemido- 
rus, Syncellus, Apollonides, and Asclepiades, compiled 
their histories of Egypt. Besides, we ought not to for- 
get that the Grecian writers who visited the land of the 
Pharaohs found it already in a state of decay both as to 
knowledge and power. The priests had lost much of 
the learning for which their ancestors were celebrated, 
and no longer enjoyed the privileges which dignified 
their order prior to the invasion of Cambyses. A library 


at Thebes, so early as the reign of Osymandias, proves chap, v 
that before the Trojan war a taste for reading had spread , jbr^s at 
over a large portion of Egyptian society. There was a rtiebes ami 
similar establishment at Memphis, in the temple of the " '^'"'' "*' 
god Plitha, from which Naucrates, a %\Tetched scribbler, 
accuses Homer of having stolen the Iliad and Odyssey, and 
afterwards published them as his own. Such a charge 
evidently refutes itself ; but it nevertheless tends to con- 
firm the conclusion drawn from it by ancient writers, 
with regard to the early civilisation and literary habits of 
the Egyptiiins. The patronage bestowed by the first of patronage bj 
the Ptolemies was, therefore, in strict accordance with Ptolemy. 
the pursuits of the people whom the fortune of war had 
appointed him to govern. The splendid collection of 
books at Alexandria was formed by those politic sove- 
reigns his successors, as one of the means whereby they 
might procure popularity, — a motive which reflects no 
less honour on the character of their subjects than on 
their own penetration and beneficence. 

Nor is it undeserving of notice that, in the most bril- Early 
liant period of Alexandrian literature, a lar!?e share of ^ttention 
attention was bestowed upon the antiquities of Egypt, anticiuities. 
Nearly three centuries before our era, the works of 
authors, then esteemed ancient, were sought with eager- 
ness, and made the subject of lal)orious commentiiry. 
Heyne, in a very ingenious treatise on the sources 
whence Diodorus probably derived the materials of his 
history, has mentioned a long list of writers, who pre- 
ceded the Sicilian, as compilers on the aff"au"s of that in- 
teresting kingdom.* In this way we see the erudition 
of a primitive nation reflected fi-om the works of writei-s 
in a comparatively recent age ; on which account we sonrce 
think it not too bold to maintain that most of the scien- "[. modern 
titic and literary acquirements which distinguished the 
Greeks, while the rest of Europe was in a state of bar- 
barism, were derived from their intercourse with the 
scholars of Thebes and Memphis. In fact, at one time 
no Greek was accounted trulv learned until he had 

De Fontibus Historiarum Diodori. 


CHAP. V. •sojourned a certain period on the banks of the Nile ; 
EarlyGreek conversed with the philosophers on the mysteries of 
tiavellers. their Science ; studied the laws, the government, and the 
institutions of the most remarkable people that ever 
existed ; examined and explored their everlasting monu- 
ments ; and become in some measure initiated in the 
wisdom of the Egyptians. 
Arithmetical Connected with the subject of this chapter, and not a 
notation. little important in itself, is an inquiry, which has lately 
engaged a good deal of attention, into the Egyptian me- 
thod of arithmetical notation. The principal writers 
who have favoured the world with their opinions on this 
interesting monument of antiquity are, M. Jomard, whose 
name has been already mentioned as the author of an 
essay on the pyramids, Dr Young, M. Champollion, and 
Dr Kosegarten, who, about seven years ago, published a 
treatise on the literature of ancient Egypt.* 
Peculiar Xliis system, we are told, is neither literal, like the 

riiitur6 of tiic V ' ' ■' 

system. Grecian and Roman, nor altogether figurate, after the 

manner of the Arabic, but something intermediate be- 
tween them. It is constructed upon principles altogether 
peculiar, and expressed by means of certam characters or 
signs, which, although perfectly distinct from those em- 
ployed in the graphic system, are nevertheless framed 
upon a strict analogy to them, and adapted with much 
nicety to the particular form of composition in which 
they happen to be used. As there were three forms of 

■ihiea forms, writing among the ancient Egyptians, — tlie hieroglyphic, 
the hieratic, and the enchorial or demotic, — so, in like 
manner, there were three forms of notation used by 
them ; one adapted to each of these particular kinds of 
composition, and now known by the name of the variety 
to which it belongs. But as the hieroglyphic or monu- 
mental writing is the basis of the two other classes, so, 
in the system of numerical expression, the hieratic is a 

* De Prisca jEeyptiorum Litteratura Commentatio Prime ; quam 
scripsit Joannes Godofredus Kosegarten, S. S. Theo!. Doct.,fiju9- 
demque et Lit. Orient, in Acaderaia Gryphisvaldensi Prof. Vima- 
ri.T, 1828. 


modified form of the hieroglyphic, and the demotic of chap. v. 
the hieratic. In the two hist, however, there is this pavrof the 
peculiarity, that separate modes of notation are em2:)lo3'ed month. 
to designate the days of the month, and that, in hoth 
tliese modes, several of tlie numerals which we now de- 
nominate Arabic are distinctly recognised. This very 
remarkable fact has been so strikingly exemplified by 
such Avriters as have examined the Egyptian notation in 
detail, as to leave no doubt whence our modem symbols Source 
originated. It does not indeed appear very clearly which numeia:L 
of the three forms was used, in preference to the others, 
in scientific computations. But, judging from analog}', it 
is probable that the demotic notation, like the demotic 
writing, was employed in the common transactions of life ; 
while, with respect to scientific calculations, all that can 
be gathered from such monuments as the zodiacs of Den- 
deraandEsneh amounts to nothing more than tliefact that 
the numerical expressions are unifonnly accommodated 
to the particular kind of writing in which they occur. 

By the labours of several distinguished antiquaries Discoveries 
who have applied themselves to the study of Egyptian estabUshei^ 
literature, the hieroglyphic signs of numbers, from one 
to a thousand, have been ascertained beyond the possibi- 
lity of doubt or error : and as these constitute the 
simplest of the three forms of notation in use among the 
ancient Egyptians, we shall endeavour to represent them 
in such a manner as to render the principle of tlieir ar- 
rangement as intelligible as our means will admit. 

The nine digits are not formed upon the Arabic scheme PnmiHve 
of having a separate mark for each, but simply by re- ""'"^'" ^ 
peating the sign of unity as often as there are units in 
any digit from one to nine. Tlius the fomier is repre- 
sented by a short thick stroke | ; two by a couple of 
such strokes | | ; tliree by | I I ; and so on to ten : the 
higher digits, however, seven, eight, and nine, being re- 
presented frequently by strokes arranged in double 
columns, obviously for the purpose of saving space. The 
mark or sign for ten is C\ 5 and all the intennediate num- 
bers between ten and twenty are made up by units af- 


CHAP. V. fixed to the symbol for ten ; thus (1 1 is eleven, O I I is 
CombiT twelve, (1111 is thirteen, and so on. Twenty is ex- 
n"alf pressed by two tens fl H ; and the intermediate num- 
bers between twenty and thirty, in the same way pre- 
cisely as those between ten and twenty. Thirty is re- 
presented by three tens 0; Mty by four tens 
n n n O ' ^^^^ ^^ °" ^^ ^ hundred ; the tens in sixty, 
seventy, eighty, and ninety, being, like the higher digits, 
generally arranged in double columns. From a hundred, 
the mark or sign for which is Q? to a thousand, the num- 
bers ascend exactly upon the prmciple already explained 
in regard to the preceding part of the scale. Thus 200 
is represented 0() ; 300 999 5 ^^'^^ ^o on to a thousand, 

/he symbol of which is f 

Adaption to Sucli is the hieroglyphical form of notation ascertain- 
monumentai g^ })y a vast number of readings and comparisons ; and 
from what has been already stated, as well as from the 
nature of the signs themselves, and the principle upon 
•which they are combmed, it seems prett}^ evident that 
they could never have been employed except in monu- 
mental inscriptions, for Avhich alone they are adapted. 
To say nothing of other objections, the method is by far 
too operose for ordinary purposes, and never could have 
been apijlied with any degree of success, either to civil 
affairs or to scientific computations. 
Comparison 1'hat the signs or figures of elementary numbers em- 
of Egyptian plo^^ed by the ancient Egyi>tians are nearly identical in 
fonn with the Arabic digits, must be obvious on the 
slightest inspection ; and there is every reason to believe 
that the latter were in the first instance copied fi-om the 
former. But there is one marked and very important 
distinction between these tAvo sets of numerical signs, 
which has not hitherto been pointed out with sufficient 
pi'ecision ; namely, that the Arabic have a value in posi- 
tion, the Egyptian none whatever ; and to this is exclu- 
sively owing the superiority possessed by the more mo- 



dem over the more ancient, and indeed over every other chap. v. 
system of notation. A very simple example will illus- source"of the 
trate this. To denote, for mstance, the year 1832 accord- superiority 
ing to the Egyptian method, it would require no fewer systems. 

than fourteen figures _? 999999 9 9 H I \, 

whereas, by means of the Arabic notation, it is expressed 
by four, because every one of the three signs which pre- 
cede unity has each a value in position, as tens, hun- 
dreds, thousands. In. the scheme devised by the philo- 
sophers of ]\Iemphis, the value of every figure is absolute, 
and expresses the same number wliether it stand at the 
beginning or end of a series. At the same time, it will Evidence of 
not be denied that the higher antiquity of this mode of antiquity 
numeration is manifest from the very smiplicity of the 
principle upon which the scale is constructed, no less than 
from the age of the monuments on wliich the inscrip- 
tions have been discovered. 

The hieratic foiTn, which is the most complete of all. Hieratic 
possesses some very remarkable peculiarities ; but as it '^' 
passes naturally into the demotic or enchorial, and has a 
much closer affiuity to that than to the hieroglj-phic, we 
shall confine our account of it to a mere exposition of 
the principle on which the scheme is made to rest. The 
digits, omitting the variations, which are of little miport- Ti.e dibits. 
ance, ai'e rej)resented thus : — 

1 I 

2 M 

3 L4 I 8 

4 Ulj 9 

5 Z I 

" ^ 

7 r 

Ten is represented by the Greek lambda direct or ni^^jj^jji^ 
reversed ^ ov y^. The sign of a hundred is J, of 

two hundred ^, of three hundred "J, of four hun- 
dred '"J ; wliile 500, 600, 700, 800, 900, are represent- 





P.1TS of the 

ed respectively by combining the signs of 200 and 300 ; 
or 300 and 300 ; of 300 and 400 ; of 400 and 400 ; and 
800 thrice rejieated. The mark for 1000 is the sanpi of 
the Greeks 5 : the symbol of 10,000 is 2.; '^^lule 
100,000 is represented by the sign of a liundred com- 
bined with that of 1000. 

So much for the common numbers of the liieratic 
scale. But there is also for the days of the month a 
peculiar and distinct set of numerical signs, which are 
not a little interesting, as exliibiting tlie source whence 
the Arabians derived three or four of the figures after- 
wards introduced by that people into the western 
world ; thus conferring upon Europe one of the greatest 
benefits it ever received, at the hand either of conqueror 
or of sage, the art of printing alone excepted. These 
numbers resolve themselves into three decades, the first 
of which is as follows : — 











The numbers composuig the second decade, oi 
from ten to twenty, are represented by combining 
the symbol of 10 with the digits in succession, 

1/ 2/ 2/ 

thus / 11 ; / 12; / 13; and so on to 

twenty, the mark or sign of which is / . Lastly, 

from twenty to thirty the numbers are represented 
in the same way precisely as from ten to twenty, 

/, 21 ; /, 22 ; /, 28. So much, then, for 

the hieratic notation in both its parts, which is evi- 
dently in many respects a great improvement upor 




the hieroglyphic, the source whence it was primarily 
derived. — 

The demotic form of notation is not so perfectly un- p 
derstood as the method just described ; there being a fovm. 
blank from 13 to 20, and from 60 to 100, the interven- 
ing numbers not having been yet determined by actual 
discovery. The signs or marks bear a great resemblance 
to those of the hieroglypliic class, of which they are 
obviously a copy : — 












• \ 

The history of the various steps by which Champollion discovery of 
and others arrived at the knowledge of the numerical ik^aTfi^tem. 
system of the Egyptians is extremely interesting, and 
affords an instance, almost as striking as that of phonetic 
hieroglypliics, of the triumph of genius combined with 
perseverance, over difficulties which appeared entirely 
insuperable. Accident, it is true, contributed in both 
cases to diffuse a light over the subject, which could not 
have been struck out by dint of unaided sagacity. The 
Rosetta stone enabled our antiquaries to accomplish what 
the learning of Clemens and the ingenuity of Warburton 
had failed to make known ; and, in the latter inquiry, 
the appearance of a neglected papyrus, containmg the 
translation of an ancient deed, supplied the means of 
determining the value of a long list of numerical signs. so„rce of s-r 
There can be little doubt that it was to Egypt the acenicnotu- 
Saracens were indebted for the scheme of arithmetical ''°"" 
notation which they subsequently communicated to the 
cholars of Europe. Thus it is rendered more than pro- 



CHAP. V. bable that to the same people we owe two of the most 
Probable important inventions wliich could be employed in the 
source of service of learning, — an alphabet, and a regular scale of 
tions. numbers suited to the profoundest investigations of 

science. Justly, indeed, has it been remarked, as a most 
striking fact in the history of the human mind, that the 
only two discoveries which no one has ever claimed as 
his own, are precisely those which succeeding ages have 
found it impossible to extend or improve, and which, at 
the period of their first introduction, were as complete 
and as universal in their application as they are at the 
ObUgations present moment. It is hardly less surprising that the 
tVigilT^'' Greeks, who were indebted to the Egy-ptians for the 
elements of almost aU those sciences which they after- 
wards so much advanced, should have failed to discern 
the manifold conveniences attached to their numerical 
system. Some centuries, however, had passed away 
before they were induced to adopt it from a people 
comparatively barbarous, but who, like themselves, had 
profited by their vicinity to that fountain of knowledge 
which so long beautified and enriched the country of 
the Pharaohs.* 
Egyptian A review of the literature of this ancient nation might 

leo ogy. seejQ to requu-e that we should give an account of the 
theological opinions entertained by the priests, as well 
as of the doctrines received by the multitude, relative 
to the nature of the human soul, and a future state of 
■^^ reward and punishment. But it must be apparent that 

the object of our undertaking precludes all such discus- 
sion, as being at once too abstruse and too extensive in 
its ramifications. It may therefore be sufficient to 
observe, that the popular religion of Eg}-pt, like that ol 
all pagan tribes, was directed towards those qualities in 

* To the authorities mentioned in the text we feel satisfaction in 
adding an article, in a recent number of the Westminster Review, 
on the " Egyptian Method of Notation," to which we acknowledge 
ourselves under great obligations. See also " Remarques sur les 
Signes Numeriques des Anciens Egyptiens. Par E. Jomard. 
Description de I'Egypte, vol. ii. p. 57. Antiquites." 


the physical system of the universe upon which the per- chap. V. 
manence of the animal kingdom is known to depend, jj^ haracter 
The generative and prolific powers, under their various 
forms, and as aflfecting every description of organized 
matter, were worshipped as the Universal Parent, whose 
names were multiplied according to the changing aspect 
of nature, and whose attributes, when personified, gave 
birth to a thousand subordinate divinities. 

The oldest form of idolatry was without doubt the sabaism 
worship of the host of heaven, called Sabaism, from the 
Hebrew term which denotes a multitude. It has been 
suggested, accordingly, that the animal worship of India 
and Eg3'pt, particularly of the latter country, was 
originally nothing more than a reflected Sabaism ; in Anim&i 
other words, that it was purely symbolical. From the worship. 
earliest times the stars were classed in groups, which 
men imagmed to bear a resemblance to the figures of 
certain living creatures ; these groups received their 
names from those of the animals to whose form they 
were supposed to bear a likeness ; and hence astronomy 
continues to retain the descriptive nomenclature which 
was originally founded on this fanciful analogy. The refrradaiiou 
next step was to transfer to the beasts and creeping ""^^ ^jinbois. 
things, which were thus associated with the host of 
heaven, some portion of the homage which was due to 
the latter ; whence, it has been thought, we may trace 
the absurd practice of animal adoration, so characteristic 
of the Egyptians. Though at last it degenerated among 
the vulgar into a brutish idolatry, it was in its first 
stage purely s}Tnbolical, a reflection of the direct homage 
paid to the celestial host unmediately after the flood. 
As a proof of this, it has been mentioned by certain 
writers, that the lion, though not a native of Egypt, had 
a place among the annuals which received divine honours, 
evidently because the first Sabaists had identified the 
leonine form with an astronomical sign. 

The tenet of the metempsychosis appears to have re- Metemps:,'- 
gulated the faith of the people so far as it applied to the '^^"sis. 
effect of their conduct on their future condition. The 


CHAP. v. soul was understood to expiate the sins committed in 
Retributton. ^^^ human bod}', or to enjo}^ the rewards due to puie- 
ness of living, in a succession of transmigrations during 
three thousand years ; at the end of which it was ex- 
pected to resume its former tenement, and to discharge 
once more the functions of an earthly existence. 
Popular Agam, as to the poetry, the eloquence, and the polite 

uteraturc literature of that remarkable people, we are still too 
ignorant of the Coptic to form an accurate judgment. 
But there is reason to hope that the example presented 
by M. Quatremere to the scholars of Europe will not 
be neglected, — that the ancient language of the Egyp- 
tians will at length receive a degree of attention equal 
to its importance, — and, consequently, that the produc- 
tions of the poets and orators of Thebes, the passionate 
eifusions of the lover and the patriot, may yet be added 
to the stores of English learning. 
^-^3, In respect to the arts of the ancient Egyptians, we 

shall have a better opportunity of introducing a few 
observations in the following chapter, where we intend 
to bring before the reader a view of some of the more 
striking remains of their taste and skill, as collected 
fi-ora the descriptions of recent travellers. 



Eemains of Ancient Art in various Parts of Egypt. 

General Magnificence of Remains — Alexandria — Pillar — Cleopa- 
tra's Needle — Catacombs — Memphis — Beni Hassan— Hermopo- 
lis Magna — Antinopolis — Siout — Sepulchral Grottos — Temple of 
Antaeopolis — Abydos — Dendera or Tentj'ra — Magnificent Temple 
and Portico— Elegant Sculptures — Zodiac and Planisphere — 
Opinions as to their Antiquity — Thebes — The Gateway or Pro- 
pylon at Luxor — Magnificent Sculptures — Karnac — The Temple ; 
Its Approaches and splendid Gateways; Its vast Extent — Tem- 
ples at Dair and JMedinet Abou — The Memnonium— Statue of 
Memnon — Tombs — Hermcnt — Esneh — Eleithias— Striking Re- 
presentations of Domestic Life — Edfou — Kadjur Silsili — Koum 
Ombos — Es Souan — Quarries of Syene — Island of Elephantine — 
Concluding Remarks. 

We have purposely made a distinction between those CIIAP. \t 
immense works which display the gigantic plans and classification 
mechanical resources of the ancient Egyptians, and the of woiks of 
specimens of the finer arts of architecture, statuary, and 
painting, which still delight the eye of the scientific 
traveller amid the ruins of Thebes, Dendera, and Ebsam- 
boul. No view of Egj-pt Avould be complete without 
such an outline as we now propose to exliibit ; for it is 
not possible in any other way to connect the history of 
that remarkable country with its proud monuments of 
ancient taste and grandeur, or to render credible the 
sublime descriptions which have been transmitted to us 
by philosophers as well as by poets. The remains which 
still indicate the site of its oldest capital present the 
most unequivocal proof of its early civilisation, and of 




Evidence of 
early civili- 


lions impres- 
sions at Kar- 


the high degree of power wliich the inhahitants had at- 
tained by means of their knowledge. Its origin is lost 
in the obscurity of time, being coeval perhaps with the 
people who first took possession of the country ; but, to 
give an idea of its great antiquity, it may be suflBcient 
to remark that the building of Memphis, the date of 
which even stretches beyond the limits of authentic his- 
tory, was the first attempt made to rival its magnifi- 
cence and prosperity. Alluding to one poiiion of the 
more ancient metropolis, Chanipollion expresses himself 
in the following terms : — " All that I had seen, all that 
I had admired on the left bank, appeared miserable in 
comparison with the gigantic conceptions by which I 
was surrounded. I shall take care not to attempt to 
describe any thing ; for, either my description would 
not express the thousandth part of what ought to be 
said, or, if I drew even a faint sketch, I should be taken 
for an enthusiast or perhaps for a madman. It will 
suffice to add, that no people, either ancient or modern, 
ever conceived the art of architecture on so sublime and 
so grand a scale as the ancient Egj-ptians. Then* con- 
ceptions were those of men a hundred feet high ; and 
the imagination, which in Europe rises far above our 
porticos, sinks abashed at the foot of the hundred and 
forty columns of the hj'postyle hall at Karnac." 

The traveller from Europe usually lands at Alexan- 
dria, a city which in any other part of the world would 
be denominated ancient. The Pillar which graces that 
capital of the Grecian kings was long associated with 
the memory of Pompey the Great ; but an inscription 
which, in our own days, has been distinctly made out, 
proves that its last dedication was in honour of the 
Emperor Diocletian, and by a prefect who happened to 
bear the same name as the rival of Julius Cssar. "We 
have already remarked that it was no uncommon occur- 
rence, during the successive dynasties which governed 
the Egyptians, to carve the titles of princes on palaces, 
temples, and obelisks, which were erected a thousand 
years before their accession to power ; whence it must 


appear that nothing can be more fallacious, viewed as a chap. vi. 
test of antiquity, than the names which are found in in- Fallacies in 
scriptions, even in those of the hieroglypliic class. Mr hieroglyphic 
Salt, as was stated in a former chapter, traced the ap- '°^°"p '°°^- 
pellation of one of the Ptolemies engraved over tliat of 
Psammeticus, — the sovereign, it is probable, in whose 
reign the original building was raised. 

The Alexandrian Pillar stands upon a pedestal twelve ^iie Aiexan- 
feet high, which has obviously been formed of stones dnaa I'iUar. 
previously used for some other purpose. The shaft is 
round, about umety feet in length, and surmounted by 
a Corinthian capital which adds ten feet more to the 
elevation. The column, we believe, is one block of por- 
phyr}^, although it has more usually been described as 
consisting of syenite or Egyptian granite. It is nine 
feet in diameter, with a perceptible entesis, but without 
hieroglyphs ; remarkably well cut, and very little in- 
jured by the effects of time. No one, however, can fail 
to perceive that the shaft does not correspond with the 
capital, base, and pedestal, which are extremely poor 
both in execution and taste.* 

It is to be deeply regretted that the arcliitectural vulgar prac 
Deauties of this celebrated monument are not a little ticesofmo- 

Qcrii trav6i- 

defaced by the undue freedoms which have been used lers. 
by certain European visiters. One of the latest wi-iters 
on the subject informs us, that, what with black paint 
and red ochre, pitch and sand, the pedestal and the lower 
part of the shaft may now rival the party-coloured man- 
tle of Jacob's favourite son. It was in vain to look for 
any of Diocletian's inscriptions, since the scribbling of 
those who had ascended to the top had obliterated all 
other traces. It appears that, in March 1827, the officers 
of the Glasgow ship of war, by means of flying a kite, 

• Mr Madox, one of the latest travellers in Egypt, remarks, that 
' Pompey's Pillar stands upon a slight elevation, not far from the 
sea and the town, and near the canal. The shaft is one piece of 
granite, perfect, and well polished. The foundation of the pedestal 
has been damaged and repaired." — Excursions in Holy Land, Sfc, 
vol. i. p. 101. 




Ascent of 
tlni column. 

readings of 
the inscrip - 

and sub- 

had passed a string over the top of the column, — to this 
they fastened a cord, and, eventually, a rope-ladder. 
Theu- example has been followed by the crew of almost 
every king's ship smce stationed in that port. Break- 
fasts have been given, and letters written on the top, 
and even a lady has had the courage to ascend. But 
the British flag, on one occasion, having by a party 
been left floating from the summit, of the pillar, the 
governor took so much off"ence as to prohibit all such 
frolics for the time to come.* 

There is a want of unanimity among travellers as to 
the precise import of the inscription on this famous 
pillar. M. Q,uatremere has ascertained that there was in 
the time of Diocletian a prefect whose name was Pom- 
peius, and thereby afforded a strong corroboration to the 
opinion of those who thmk that the monument was 
raised in honour of that emperor by one of his deputies. 
But Clarke read the Greek characters so as to sub- 
stitute Adrian mstead of Diocletian ; and found out, at 
the same time, that the name of the commander who 
dedicated the column was Posthumus rather than Pom- 
peius. The greater number, howevei", follow the version 
which retains the latter appellation, and which by that 
means accounts so easily for the vulgar error in regard 
to the object of the erection. 

We are informed by Denon that, the earth about the 
foundations of the pUlar having been dug away, two 
fragments of an obelisk of white marble were discovered 
to have been added to the original substructure. These, 
Dr Clarke thinks, must have been intended merely to 
maintain the base m its adjusted position until the 
pedestal could be raised upon it, and that they were not 
meant to contribute to the support of the column. It is 
chiefly deserving of notice, however, that the block on 
which the pedestal rests is uiscribed on the four sides 
with hieroglyphs, the figures or characters of which. 

* Travels in the Crimea.— A similar feat was accomplished in 
1777 by an English captain. See Irwin's Voyage. 


being inverted, show that it has been turned upside chap vr. 
down ; thus affording a complete proof that the stone Antiquity of 
must have belonged to some more ancient work, which "s matenaJs 
was probably in ruins before the pillar was erected in 
its present site. 

In a remote unfrequented part of the city stands the Cleopatra's 
obelisk well known by the name of Cleopatra's Needle, needle, 
and which is described as a fine piece of granite covered 
with hieroglyplis. There were originally two of these, 
apparently brought from Heliopolis or Thebes to adorn 
the entrance to the palace of the Ptolemies. About 
twelve years ago, when Dr Richardson visited Alexan- 
dria, the one stood erect, the other lay prostrate on the 
ground ; but in reference to the latter, he remarks 
that it Avas mounted on props, and seemed as if " pre- 
pared for a journey." It has been since removed, with 
the view of being conveyed to England, though it has 
not yet, so far as we have been able to leam, reached 
its destination. The dunensions are sixty-four feet in 
length, and eight feet square at the base.* 

Alexandria presents many other remains of sumptuous Ancient 

buildings, concerning which there is no tradition among Aiexandnaa 
. ~ ' '=' 11? remains. 

the inhabitants on which any reliance can be j)laced. 
On each side of wliat appeai-s to have been one of the 
principal streets are still to be seen rows of stately mar- 
ble columns, all overturned and neglected. They are 
conjectured to be the relics of a magnificent colonnade 
which extended between the gates of the Sun and Moon, 
and was regarded as one of the most striking ornaments 

• The obelisk has not yet been removed, and is not now likely to 
bo, as it has been buried under recently erected fortifications of 
Alabomed Ali, where it may lie in all probability for centuries, be- 
fore it is again brought to light. Mr. Madox remarks that Cleopa- 
tra's Needles "are each hewn out of a single block of gi'anite, and 
are completely covered with hieroglyphics," he adds, "one has been 
thrown down and almost buried in the sand, and towards the end 
■which rests upon its base, the inscriptions are much effaced. Those 
on the southern and western sides of the upright column are very 
perfect, though the others are considerably obliterated. — Excur- 
sions in EoYPT, &c. voL j. p. 99. 





Enins of 
the ancient 

Catacombs of 




of the city ; but in the hands of the Turks, it has been 
justly observed, every thing goes to decay, and nothing 
is repaired. Wherever an excavation is made, an arch, 
a pUlar, or a rich cornice, indicates that a splendid struc- 
ture had once occupied the ground, though these relics 
can supply no information as to the object, the date, the 
name, or the foimder. For mUes the suburbs are covered 
with the ruins of the ancient town. Heaps of brick and 
mortar, mixed Avith broken shafts and mutilated capitals, 
cover immense vaults, which, serving as reservoirs of 
water, are replenished on every overflow of the NUe. 
Perhaps much of this devastation, as well as of the igno- 
rance which prevails respecting it, may be attributed to 
the effects of that fatal earthquake which swallowed up 
50,000 of the inhabitants, and threw down the loftiest of 
their edifices. But on such subjects all inquiry is vain ; 
for the traveller finds that the degraded beings who now 
occupy the wrecks of this superb metropolis, are equally 
indifferent and ill-informed as to every event which 
preceded their own times. 

The Catacombs of Alexandria present nothing very 
remarkable, being in a condition nearly as ruinous as 
the city whose dead they were intended to receive. The 
real entrance to these subterraneous abodes is unkno'mi ; 
the present passage opening from the seashore like the 
approach into a grotto, while most of the chambers are 
so entirely choked up with sand that it is extremely dif- 
ficult to crawl into them even on the hands and knees. 
Their form, as well as the doors, pilasters, and sarco- 
phagi, show them to be the work of Grecian artists ; 
but, although in size they are fully equal to the Egj-p- 
tian catacombs, yet in respect of decoration they are not 
once to be compared to them. All along the shore of 
the western harbour are numerous sepulchres of incon- 
siderable note, some of them under the rock ; many are 
merely cut into it, and open to the air ; and not a few 
are under the level of the sea. Several baths are like- 
wise exhibited in this quarter, which as usual are as- 
signed to Cleopatra ; but such of them as are now to be 


seen are equally small and incommodious, and of a de- chap. \i 
scription far too inferior to countenance th": supposition — 
that they had ever been used by her whose beauty and 
accomplishments triumphed over the heroes of Rome.''' 

In ascending the Nile we shall take no notice of Cairo,<\eTn 
because the works which it exliibits do not serve to ciiaracter 
illustrate the principles of the arts, or to display the 
remams of the grandeur for wliich the ancient Eg}!^- 
tians are celebrated. We should willingly detain the 
reader at IMemphis, did any remains of its magnificence 
occupy the ground on which it once stood, to gratify the 
rational curiosity its name cannot fail to excite. But we 
shall only quote from an old %vriter a description of that 
capital as it appeared in the twelfth century. " Among jj^^^^- 
the monuments of the power and genius of the ancients," tiie twelfth 
says Edrisi, " are the remains still extant in Old Misr or '^^"'"^• 
Memphis. That city, a little above Fo^at, in the pro- 
rince of Djizeh, was inhabited by the Pharaohs, and is 
the ancient capital of the kingdom of Egj'pt. Such it 
continued to be till ruined by Boklit-nasr (Nebuchad- 
nezzar) ; but many years afterwards, when Alexander 
had built Iskanderiyeh (Alexandria), this latter place jt^ rebnUd 
was made the metropolis of Egypt, and retamed that pre- ins- 
eminence till the Moslems conquered the country under 
Amru ebn el Aasi, who transferred the seat of govern- 
ment to Fostat. At last El Moez came from the west 
and built El Cahirah (Cairo), which has ever since been 
the royal place of residence. But let us return to the 
description of Memf, also called Old Misr. Notwith- 
standing the vast extent of this city, the remote period 
at which it was built, the change of the djTiasties to 
which it has been subjected, the attemjjts made by 
various nations to destroy even the vestiges, and to obli- 
terate every trace of it by removing the stones and ma- 
terials of which it was formed, ruining its houses and 
defacing its sculptures ; notwithstanding all this, com- 
bined with what more than four thousand years must have 

* Richardson's Travels, vol. i. p. 21. 


CHAP. VI. done towards its destruction, there are j^et found in it 
Its indestiTc- '^vorks SO wonderful that they confound even a reflecting 
Ubleremaics. niind, and are such as the most eloquent would not be 
able to describe. The more you consider them the more 
does your astonisliment increase ; and the more you look 
at them the more pleasure you experience. Every idea 
which they suggest immediately gives birth to some 
other still more novel and unexpected ; and as soon as you 
imagine that you have traced out theii* full scope, you 
discover that there is something still greater behind." 
MonoUtiiic Among the works here alluded to, he specifies a 
tempe. monoHthic temple, similar to the one mentioned by 
Herodotus, adorned with curious sculptures. He next. 
expatiates upon the idols found among the ruins, not less 
remarkable for the beauty of tlieir forms, the exactness 
of their proportions, and perfect resemblance to nature, 
Idols. ^jj^jj £qj. {jieir truly astonishmg dimensions. We mea- 

sured one of them, he says, which, without mcluding the 
pedestal, was forty -five feet in height, fifteen feet from 
side to side, and from back to front m the same propor- 
tion. It was of one block of red granite, covered with 
a coating of red varnish, the antiquity of wliich seemed 
only to increase its lustre.'^ 
rresent c:t- The ruins of Memphis, in his time, extended to the 
tent of tiia distance of half a day's journey in every direction. But 
so rapidly has the work of destruction proceeded since 
the twelfth century, that few points have been more 
deliated by modern travellers than the site of this cele- 
brated metropolis. Dr Pococke and ]\Ir Bruce, with 
every show of reason, fixed upon Metrahenny, — a con- 
clusion which was opposed by Dr Shaw, who argued in 
favour of Djizeh. But the investigations of the French 
appear to have decided the question. " At Metrhaine, 
one league from Sakhara, we found so many blocks of 
granite covered with hieroglyphics and sculptures around 
and -n-itliin an esplanade three leagues in circumference, 

* Abdollatiph's Abridgment of Edrisi, translated by M. Silvestre 
dc Sacy. Encyclopaedia Metropolitana, article Egypt. 



enclosed by heaps of rubbish, that we were convmced chap. vi. 
tliat these must be the rums of Memphis. The sight oi Gigantic pro- 
some fragments of one of those colossuses, which Hero- poi tions of 
dotus says were erected by Sesostris at the entrance of 
the temple of Vulcan, would, indeed, have been suffi- 
cient to dispel our doubts had any remained. The wrist 
of this colossus, which Citizen Coutelle caused to be re- 
moved, shows that it must have been forty-five feet 


The ruins of Beni Hassan, although comparatively a nuins of 
modern place, bear decided marks of antiquity ; the ma- ^'^ '^^''"' 
terials of the principal buildings havmg been convej'ed 
from some more ancient town, — a practice which appears 
to have become frequent under the Ptolemies as well as 
during the Roman ascendency. The grottos, however, 
which Avere once the abodes of holy hermits, are the 
most striking remains of this village, and are remark- 
able for paintmgs, of which Mr Hamilton has given an 
elaborate account. The ceUmgs of these chambers are 
generally arched, whUe others are supported by columns Columns, 
cut out of the rock, having a truly Egyptian character, 
and the appearance of four branches of palm-trees tied 
together. The largest is sixty feet in length, and forty 
in height ; to the south of it are seventeen smaller apart' 
ments, and probably the same number to the north. 
Ten columns originally supported this large chamber, 
four of which are fallen down. There were two other 
rooms of nearly similar dimensions, from which, as in the 
former case, there were doorways leading into inferior 
apartments, suggesting the idea of halls surrounded by 
cells for the private accommodation of the inmates. 

Ashmonein, the ancient Hermopolis Magna, is now Ashmonein. 
reduced to the state of a village, though the remains of 
its foi-mer magnificence may yet be traced over an area 
four miles in circumference. The portico of a temple is 
described by Mr Legh, who saAv it in the year 1813, a? 

* Courrier de VEgypte. A plan of the ruins is given by M 
Jacotin iu the Description de VEgypte. 






origin of 


Norflen's de- 
scription of 

being still quite perfect. It consists ot twelve massive 
columns, which are not huHt of cylindrical blocks of 
stone, but each block is formed of several pieces so neatly 
joined together that, where they are not mjured by 
time, it is difficult to discover the junction of the seve- 
ral fragments. The columns are arranged in two rows, 
distant from each other twelve feet ; and the roof is 
formed of large flags of stone, covered with stucco and 
beautifully ornamented. The columns and the whole 
interior of the portico have been painted ; among the 
colours, red, blue, and yellow, seem to predominate. The 
hieroglj'phs on the plinths are different on each front, 
but they are the same on every plinth on the same front. 
The capitals, which in some degree represent the tulip 
in bud, are let into the columns. Several other shafts ol 
granite are scattered about near the temple, bearing a 
distinct evidence to its original extent and grandeur. 

We pass by Antinopohs or Sheikh Ababde, because 
its features unequivocally denote its modem origin, and 
fix its larger buildings to the time of the Romans. It 
is said to have been erected by the Emperor Adrian in 
memory of Antinous, who perished in the NUe, and it 
has been remarked that its colonnades, triumphal arches, 
baths, and amphitheatres, are as little in unison with the 
surrounding objects, and as foreign to the soil in which 
they stand, as was the new capital raised by the same 
people at Treves, on the banks of the ^loselle. 

Siout, which is now esteemed the metropolis of Upper 
Egypt, is better stored with the rehcs of former days, 
consisting, however, of tombs and sepulchral grottos 
rather than of the more lively monuments of antiquity, 
the palaces and temples of the victorious Pharaohs. 
Norden describes at some length those primeval reposi- 
tories of the dead, which are excavated in the mountains 
about half a league from the modern to^^^l. Passing a 
gateway, the visiter enters a large saloon supported by 
hexagonal pillars hewn out of the rock itself. The roofs 
are adorned with paintings, wliich can be distinguished 
sufficiently well even at present ; and the gold that waa 


employed in the decoration glitters on all sides. There chap, vi 
are perceived here and there some openings which lead — 
to other apartments ; but the accumulation of sand and ment3''of 
rubbish prevents all ingress. He suggests that there are '''^"^^^■ 
three tiers of tombs approachable by separate avenues 
from the outside, — an opinion which is confirmed by Su' 
F. Henniker, who observed in the second story an exca- 
vation of 108 feet by 78, the entrance of which was or- 
namented with some costly sculptures. Denon, indeed, 
assures us that all the inner porches of these grottos are 
covered with hieroglj'phs ; — " Months," says he, " would 
be required to read them, even if one knew the language, inscriptions. 
and it would take years to copy them. One thing I saw 
by the little daylight that enters the first porch, — that 
all the elegancies of ornament which the Greeks have 
employed in their architecture, all the wavy lines and 
scrolls, and other Greek forms, are here executed with 
taste and exquisite delicacy. If one of these excavations immense 
were a smgle operation, as the uniform regularity of the labour ex- 
plan of each would seem to indicate, it must have been tu" tombi 
an immense labour to construct a tomb. But we may 
suppose that such a one, when finished, would serve for 
ever for the sepulture of a whole family, or even race, 
and that some religious worship was regularly paid to 
the dead ; else, where would have been the use of such 
laboured ornaments in the form of inscriptions never 
to be read, and a ruinous, secret, and buried splendour. 
At different periods or at annual festivals, or when some 
new uihabitant was added to the tombs, funereal rites p^oijiiijie 
were doubtless perfonned, in which the pomp of cere- funeral ritus. 
mony might vie with the magnificence of the place. 
This is the more probable, as the richness of decoration 
in the interior forms a most strilving contrast with the 
outer waUs, which are only the rough natural rock. 1 
found one of these cavc-i with a single saloon, in which 
were an innumerable quantity of graves cut m the rock 
in regular order ; they had been ransacked with the 
view of procuring mummies, and I found several frag- 
ments of their contents, such as linen, hands, feet, and 





ness of the 

loose bones. Besides these principal grottos, there is 
such a countless number of smaller excavations that the 
whole rock is cavernous, and resounds under the foot."* 
The temple at Antaeopolis, the modern Gau el Kebir, 
is well deserving of attention, and more especially as it 
is fast mouldering into a heap of ruins. The portico, 
in the year 1813, consisted of three rows, each of six 
columns, eight feet in diameter, and, with their entabla- 
ture, sixty -two feet high. This structure, which, from its 
situation in a thick grove of palm-trees, is perhaps the 
Picturesque- most pictui'esque in Egypt, stands close to the banks of 
the Nile, whose waters have already undermined some 
part of it, and threaten to wash the whole'away. The 
columns, architraves, and indeed every stone of the build- 
ing, are covered with hierogl^'phs in bas-relief. At the 
farthest extremity of the temple is an immense block of 
granite of a pyramidal form, twelve feet high and nine 
feet square at the base, in which a niche has been cut 
seven feet in height, four feet wide, and three deep. It 
is hollowed out as if for the reception of a statue, thoiigh 
Mr Legh anaginetl that the cavity was meant as a chest 
or depository for the sacred birds. 

In the year 1817, many overturned stones and pillars 
were lying on the brink of the river, or had fallen into 
its channel. Of the portico just described only one co- 
lumn remained standing, presenting a shaft from fort}'' to 
fifty feet in height, wrought into panels, and surmounted 
with a capital like the calix of a flower. The space be- 
tween each of the compartments was occupied by rows 
of hieroglyphs ; and the compartments themselves were 
filled with figures of Osiris, Isis, and Anubis, receiving 
offerings under different forms. A column, which seemed 
to have recently fallen down at its side, consisted of the 
same number of stones, and was sculptured in a similar 

Two years afterwards, the fine vestibule of Aritteopo- 
lis was entirely levelled with the ground. The Nile, in 

Remains in 

lul details. 

* Denon, vol. i. p. 150. 


this part of its course, had long heen advancing towards chap, vl 
the eastern side of the valley, and wasliing away the jtstotaf 
foundations of such buildings as stood upon its right destmctioa 
bank ; when, m the year just mentioned, in consequence 
of an unusually high inundation, it completed the work 
of destruction, reducmg this splendid monument of 
ancient piety to a mass of ruins. We have endeavoured 
to preserve in a plate an accurate representation of the 
appearance which it exhibited at the beginning of this 
century, when as yet the main parts of the pronaos were 
perfectly entire.* 

As our object in tliis survey of ancient buildings and infenor 
ruined cities is not confined to a mere topographical de- "^"^ 
scription, we omit several small towns situated on either 
bank of the Nile, because they no longer present any 
remains of art to connect them vrith the period to which 
our retrospect extends. In ascending the Thebaid, how- 
ever, we are arrested by the interesting relics of Abydos, t bydos. 
the modem Arabat, supposed by Strabo to have been 
the residence of Memnou ; although, in the days of this 
geographer, it was already reduced to a paltry village. 
A few blocks and columns of granite continue to assui-e 
the traveller that the desolate region which he has ca- 
tered was once a scene of splendour and a field for an 
active population. A large building, too, of the highest Evidence 
antiquity, will convince liim that Abydos must have ^J former 


held a distinguished place among the cities of Upper 
Egypt. jVIt Hamilton tells us that this edifice appeared 
entire, hut was so much choked up with sand that it 
was extremely difficult either to enter the apartments or 
to examine the architecture. The area which it occu- 
pied was nearly a rectangle of 350 feet by 150. The 
pillars were conjectured to be about tliirty feet in 
height ; which did not, however, exhibit any remark- 
able sculptures or paintings. One peculiarity of this 
building could not be observed without interest : — 

* Legh, p. 95. Richardson, vol. i. p. 178. Encyclop. Metropol. 
article Egypt. 




of this iiiin. 


tions of sand. 

" From the west point we could enter into seven cham- 
bers of similar dimensions, measuring thirty-six feet in 
length, sixteen feet and a half in width, and five feet 
sis inches in height ; the only instance of the kind I 
liave ever witnessed of undoubted Eg}^tian architecture. 
The arches, however, are not constiaicted on the prin- 
ciple of the arch, and cannot therefore be adduced as any 
evidence of such principles having been kno■^^•n to, and 
put in practice by, the Egyptians. The architraves, or 
rather rafters of the rooms, as well as the upper la^-er of 
stones on each side-wall, are cut out so as to resemble 
an arched roof ; and perhaps they are thua executed in 
imitation of those which the same people used to form 
for the catacombs and sepulchres wliich they excavated 
in the rocks."* 

Four himdred yards farther north are the traces of 
another buUdiug, which appears to have been a temple, 
though little now remains but the fragments of three 
gateways formed of granite. In size it has been much 
inferior to the edifice just described, being only 250 feet 
in length, and 120 feet wide. Such ruins seem to justify 
the conclusion, which has been dra'mi by recent travel- 
lers, that Arabat represents the ancient Abydos, and also 
that the great structure is the ]\Iemnonium celebrated 
by Strabo. 

As the sand continues to gain ground all along the 
precincts of the western desert, the difficulty of entering 
this palace of Memnon is every year increased. In 1821, 
when Sir F. Henniker visited Egypt, the external linea- 
ments of the royal dwelling were so entirely obliterated 
that it was not easy to imagine a builduig could be con- 
cealed in the spot where he was du-ected to seek for it. 
On the roof, which alone occupies neai'ly as much space 

• Hamilton's Esyptiaca, p. 259. Since Dr. Russell wrote this 
work, entirely different opinions have beeu adopted. Both Wilkin- 
son, and Colonel Howard A'yse have discovered stone arches of 
pure Egyptian workmanship ; and arches formed with bricks of a 
very remote era. — Pyramids of Gizeh, vol i. p. 218. 


as the neighbouring village, he stepped fifty-four long chap. vi. 
paces on stones that have never yet been removed, Extent of 
though he observed signs of destruction at either end. the i-uins. 
There are some small chambers in the pile, in which the 
colour of the painting is so well preserved that doubts 
immediately arise as to the length of time it has been 
done. The best works even of the Venetian school be- 
tray their age ; but the colours here, supposed to have Durability 
been in existence two thousand years before the tune of of t'leir 
Titian, are at this moment as fresh as if they had been 
laid on an hour ago. The stones of which this fabric is 
built measure in some cases about twenty-two feet in 
length ; the span of the arch is cut in a single stone ; 
a portico is still visible ; and each individual part is of 
exquisite workmanship, though badly put together. 
This writer agrees with J\Ir Hamilton in the ojiinion that 
the ancient Egyptians did not understand the principle of ignorance cf 
the arch. One chamber, in particular, appears to de- of tife""r"b''^ 
monstrate at once their intention and their inability, — 
the span of the arch being cut m two stones, each of 
which bears an equal segment of the circle. These 
placed together would naturally have fallen, but they 
are upheld by a pillar placed at the point of contact, 
— an expedient which leaves no doubt that, in this im- 
portant triumph of architectural invention, the subjects 
of the Pharaohs had not attained their usual success. 
If, says he, those who raised the pjTamids and built 
Thebes, and elevated the obelisks of Luxor, had been 
acquainted with the principle of the arch, they would 
have thro'ttTi bridges across the Nile, and have erected 
to Isis and Osiris domes more magnificent than those of 
St Peter's and St Paul's.* 

It was in one of the inmost chambers of the more TMct of 
spacious edifice at Abydos that Mr W. Banks, in AtyUoa. 
1818, discovered a large liieroglyphical tablet containing 
a long series of royal names, as was e^'ident from the 
ring, border, or, as the French call it, the cartouche, 

• A Visit to Egypt, p. 112. 






of Champol- 

Ruins of 



which surrounds each designation. On examination, it 
proved to be a genealogical register of the immediate 
predecessors of Rameses the Great, the Sethos or Se- 
thosis of ]\Ianetho, the Sesoosis of Diodorus, and the Se- 
sostris of Herodotus, A careful comparison of it with 
other documents enabled M. Champollion to ascertain, 
with a considerable degree of probability, the period in 
which the sixteenth and following djTiasties mentioned 
by Manetho must have occupied the throne. The epochs 
thus determined, though still liable to some objections, 
are supported by so many concurrent and independent 
testimonies as to warrant the expectation, now entertain- 
ed by many chronologists, that they will ultimately be 
established beyond the reach of controversy.* 

Dendera, which is commonly identified with the 
ancient Tentyra, presents some very strikmg examples 
of that sumptuous architecture which the people of 
Egypt lavished upon their places of worship. The gate- 
way, in particular, which leads to the temple of Isis has 
excited universal admiration. Each front, as well as tlie 
interior, is covered with sculptured hieroglyphs, which 
are executed with a richness, a precision, elegance of 
form, and variety of ornament, surpassing ia many re- 
spects the similar edifices wliich are found at Thebes 
and Philoe. The height is forty-two feet, the width 
thirty-three, and the depth seventeen. Having passed 
through less important ruins the visiter comes to an ele- 
gant gateway or propylon, which is also of sandstone, 
neatly hewn, and completely covered with sculpture and 
hierogl^^'phs remarkably well cut. Immediately over 
the centre of the doorway is the beautiful Egyptian or- 
nament usually called the globe, with serjjent and wings, 
emblematical of the glorious sun poised in the airy fir- 
mament of heaven supported and directed m his course 
by the eternal wisdom of the Deity. The temple itself 
still retains all its original magnificence. The centuries 
which have elapsed since the era of its foundation have 

• Encycloptedia IMetropolitana, article Egypt. 



scarcely affected it in any important part, and have im- chap. \'I. 
pressed upon it no greater appearance of age than serves j^ ji^ons 
to render it more venerable and imposing. To Mr produced I7 
Hamilton, who had seen innumerable monuments of the '*• 
same kind throughout the Thebaid, it seemed as if he 
were now witnessing the highest degree of architectural 
excellence that had ever been attained on the borders of 
the Nile. Here were concentrated the united labours of 
ages, and the last effort of human art and industry in 
that uniform line of construction which had been adopt- 
ed in the earliest times. 

The portico consists of twenty-four columns, in three Great 
rows ; each above twenty-two feet in circumference, portico, 
thirty-two feet high, and covered with hieroglyphs. 
On the front, Isis is in general the principal figure to 
whom offerings are made ; while on the architrave are 
represented two processions of men and women bringing sculptured 
to their goddess, and to Osiris who is sitting behind her, decorations. 
globes encompassed vrith cows' horns, mitred snakes, 
lotus flowers, vases, little boats, graduated staff's, and 
other instruments of their emblematical worship. The 
interior of the pronaos is adorned with sculptures, most 
of them preserving part of the paint with which they 
have been covered. Those on the ceiling are peculiarly Symbolic 
ricli and varied, all illustrative of the union between the ^evices on 

' . the ceiluig. 

astronomical and religious creeds of the ancient Egyp- 
tians ; yet, though each separate figure is well preserved 
and perfectly intelligible, we must be more intimately 
acquamted with the real principles of the sciences, as 
they were then taught, before we can undertake to ex- 
plain the signs in which they v»-ere embodied. 

The sekos, or interior of the temple, consists of several interior 
apartments, all the walls and ceilings of which are in the apartmenaL 
same way covered with religious and astronomical repre- 
sentations. The roofs, as is usual in Egypt, are flat, 
formed of oblong masses of stone rcsthig on tlie side- 
walls ; and when the distance between these is too great, 
one or two rows of columns are carried down the middle 
of the apartment, on which the huge flags are supported. 


CHAP. VI. The capitals of these columns are very richly omameut- 
Capitals of ^'^ with the budding lotus, the stalks of which, being 
tiie columna extended a certain way dovra the shaft, give it the ap- 
pearance of being fluted, or rather scalloped. The rooms 
have been lighted by small perpendicular holes cut in 
the ceiling, and, where it was possible to introduce them, 
by oblique ones in the sides. But some idea may be 
Imperfect fonned of the perpetual gloom in which the apartments 
light. on the ground-floor of the sekos must have been buried, 

from the fact that, where no side-light could be in- 
troduced, all they received was communicated from the 
apartment above ; so that, notwithstanding the cloudless 
sky and the brilliant colours on the walls, the place 
must have been always well calculated for the mysteri- 
ous practices of the religion to which it was consecrated. 
Attic temple. On one corner of the roof there was a chapel or temple 
twenty feet square, consisting of twelve columns, exactly 
similar in figure and proportions to those of the pronaos. 
The use to which it may have been applied must pro- 
bably remain one of the secrets connected with the mys- 
tical and sometimes cruel service in which the priests of 
Isis were employed, though it is by no means unlikely 
that it was meant as a repository for books and instru- 
ments collected for the more innocent and exalted pur- 
suits of practical astronomy. 
Chambers nn Towards the eastern end of the roof are two separate 
thereof. gg|.g ^f apartments, one on the north and the other on 
the south side of it. The latter consists of three rooms, 
the first of which is only remarkable for the representa- 
tion of a human sacrifice. A man, with the head and 
Singular ears of an ass, is kneeling on the ground, tied with his 
tfo'n'of^"' '' hands behind him to a tree, with two knives driven into his forehead, two in the shoulders, one in his body, and 

another in the thigh. Five priests, with the heads of 
dogs and hawks, are in a row behind him, each havmg a 
knife in his hand. The deity, before whom the macta- 
tion is about to be performed, is clothed in a long white 
garment, and holds in his right hand the crook or crosier, 
with the flagellum. 


The ceiling of the next room is divided into two com- chap, vi 
partments by a figure of Isis in very high relief. In one '^^^ zodiac 
of them is the circular zodiac ; in the other a variety of 
boats with four or five human figures in each ; one of 
whom is in the act of spearing a large egg, while others 
are stamping with their feet upon the victims of their 
fury, among which are several human beings. Near 
this scene a large lion supported by four dog-headed 
figures, each carrying a knife, may be regarded as an 
additional type of the sanguinary purposes for wliich the 
apartment was used. The walls of the third room are Death and 
covered with the several representations of a person, — embalming. 
first at the point of death lying on a couch ; then stretch- 
ed out lifeless upon a bier ; and, finally, after being em- 
balmed. As these sculptures are much more defaced 
than the others, it is very difficult to decipher their 
details. But the ensigns of royalty and the presence of 
the deity are, in general, clearly discernible ; on which 
account it is not improbable that the scenes may bear an 
allusion to the death of some sovereign of the country 
who was honoured as the patron of religion or of science. 

The western wail of the great temple is particularly Scniptnre of 
interesting for the extreme elegance of the sculpture, — ^'lUL^^^'^™ 
as far as Egyptian sculpture is susceptible of that cha- 
racter, — for the richness of the dresses in which the 
priests and deities are arrayed, and even of the chairs in 
which the latter are seated. Here are frequent repre- 
sentations of men who seem prepared for slaughter or 
just going to be put to death. On these occasions one 
or more appear, with their hands or legs tied to the trvmk 
of a tree, in the most painful and distorted attitudes. 

The grand projecting cornice, one of the most impos- conuce. 
ing features of Eg^-ptian architecture, is continued the 
whole length of this and the other walls ; a moulding 
separates it from the architrave ; and, being carried 
down the angles of the building, gives to the whole a 
finished appearance, combined with symmetry of parts 
and chasteness of ornament. 

In a small chapel behind the temple, the cow and the 



Worship of 
the cow and 




hawk seem to have been particularly woi"shipped, as 
priests are frequently seen kneeling before them pre- 
senting sacrifices and offerings. In the centre of the 
ceiling is the same front face of Isis in high relief, illu- 
minated as it were by a body of rays issuing from the 
mouth of a certain long figure, which, in the other 
temples, appears to encircle the heavenly bodies. About 
two hundred yards eastward from this chapel is a pro- 
pylon of small dimensions, resembling in form that 
which conducts to the great temple, and like it buUt in 
a line with the wall which surrounds the sacred en- 
closure. Among the sculptures on it, which appear of 
the same style but less finished than those on the large 
edifice, little more is worthy of notice than the frequent 
exhibition of human slaughter by men or by lions. 
Still farther towards the east there is another propylon, 
equally well preserved with the rest, about forty feet in 
height, and twenty feet square at the base. Among the 
sacred figures on this building is an Isis pointing with a 
reed to a graduated staff held by another figure of the 
same deity, from which are suspended scales containing 
water animals ; the whole group, perhaps, bemg an 
emblem of her uifluence over the Nile in regulating its 
periodical inundations. 

The enclosure within which all the sacred edifices of 
Dendera, with the exception of the last propylon, are 
contained, is a square of about a thousand feet. It is 
surrounded by a wall which, where best preserved, is 
thirty-five feet in height, and fifteen feet thick. The 
crude bricks of wliich it is built were found to be fifteen 
inches and a half long, seven and three quartei-s broad, 
and four inches and tliree quarters thick. There have 
been at certain intervals projections of the wall or 
towers ; but it is difficult to say whether for purposes 
of defence or strength.* 

France has done much to make the world acquainted 
with Egyptian antiquities, and, had the agents she 

* Hamilton's Rgyptinoa. p. 196-204. 



employed performed their work with fidelity, would chap. vi. 
have been entitled to our warmest gratitude. But the untmst- 
rubbish was never cleared away from the walls or from worthy cha- 
the interior of this temple ; and being unable to give the the Frc-Dch 
whole of any one building, they represent it m patches, <lrawmgs. 
and those so mcorrectly, that no person, on examining 
them, can be sure whether he is studying the compositions 
of the ancient Egyptians or of the modem French. In 
fact no part of their work can serve a^ an unsuspected guide 
to the student of antiquities on the banks of the Nile. 

As Dr Richardson is one of the latest travellers who Dr. Richard- 
have published upon Egypt, we are induced to give his ^"Jji! ^^^^'' 
description of the inside of the magnificent fane now 
under our consideration. " The first apartment has 
three columns on each hand, all covered with sculpture 
and hieroglyphics, and surmounted at the top, like those 
already mentioned, with the head of Isis Quadrifrons, 
The walls behind the columns are equally enriched ; 
so that there is not a spot the eye can rest on but 
addresses to the mind a tale of interest and wonder ; 
though no man can read or unfold its precise meaning, 
yet each forms to himself some conjecture of the story, 
and is pleased with the constant exercise of his mind. 
Passing on we entered another apartment which has no Successive 
columns, but the walls are decorated in the same man- 
ner ; then we moved into a third, which was equally so, 
and from thence passages go off to small handsome side- 
chambers, equally ornamented with figures, and stars, 
and hieroglyphics, and a sort of chain- work along the 
ceiling, of a blue colour. The passage to the right leads 
to an easy handsome stair, by wliich to ascend to the 
top of the building ; we continued our way, however, 
straight forward, and entered another chamber, in the 
centre of which stands the sanctuary, or holiest apart- 
ment, all of them rich in sculpture and hieroglyphics. 
Never did I see a greater field for thought or reflection, 
and never did I regret more the want of time than in 
visiting the superb temple of Dendera."* 

* Travels, vol. i. p. 205. 





on the 

Jleans of tlie 

of objects. 

The enthusiasm of a Frenchman seeks expressions 
still more elevated to give utterance to his feelings. " I 
wish," exclaims Denon, " that I could here transfuse 
into the soul of my reader the sensations which I expe- 
rienced. I was too much lost in astonishment to be 
capable of cool judgment ; all that I had hitherto seen 
served here but to fix my admu-ation. This monument 
seemed to me to have the primitive character of a temple 
in the highest perfection. I felt that I was in the 
sanctuary of the arts and sciences. How many periods 
presented themselves to my imagination at the sight of 
such an edifice ! How many ages of creative ingenuity 
were requisite to bring a nation to such a degree of per- 
fection and sublmiity in the arts ; and how many more 
of oblivion to cause these mighty productions to be for- 
gotten, and to bring back the human race to the state of 
nature in which I found them on this very spot ! Never 
was there a place which concentred in a narrower 
compass the well-marked memorial of a progressive 
lapse of ages. What unceasing power, what riches, what 
abundance, what superfluity of means must a govern- 
ment possess which could erect such an edifice, and find 
within itself artists capable of conceivmg and executing 
the design of decorating and enriching it with every 
thing that speaks to the eye and the understanding! 
Never did the labour of man show me the human race 
in such a splendid point of view ; in the ruins of Tentyra 
the Egyptians appeared to me giants. I wished to take 
every thing on paper, but I could hardly venture to 
begin the work : I felt that, not being able to raise my 
powers to the height wliich was before my admiring 
eyes, I could only show the imperfection of the imitative 
art. I was confused by the multiplicity of objects, 
astonished by their novelty, and tormented by the fear 
of never again visitmg them. On casting my eyes on 
the ceilings, I had perceived zodiacs, planetary systems, 
and celestial hemispheres, represented in a tasteful 
arrangement : I saw that the Supreme Being, the First 
Cause, was every where depicted by the emblems of his 


attributes ; aud I had but a few hours to examine, to ciiap. vi 
reflect on, and to copy, what it had been the labour of 
ages to conceive, to put together, and to decorate. With 
my pencil in my hand, I passed from object to object, Their 
distracted from one by the inviting appearance of the distracting 
next, constantly attracted to new subjects, and again 
torn from them. I wanted eyes, hands, and intelligence 
vast enough to see, copj'-, and reduce to some order the 
multitude of striking images which presented themselves 
before me. I was ashamed at representing such sublime 
objects by such imperfect designs, but I wished to pre- 
serve some memorial of the sensations which I here ex- 
perienced, and I feared that Tentyra would escape from 
me for ever ; so that my regret equalled my present 
enjoyment. I had just discovered, in a small apartment, close of the 
a celestial planisphere, when the last rays of daylight '^"^^ 
made me perceive that I was alone here, along with my 
kind and obliging friend General Beliard, who, after 
having satisfied his ovm curiosity, would not leave me 
unprotected in so deserted a spot. We galloped on and 
regained our division. — In the evening, Latoumerie, an 
officer of brilliant courage and of a refined and delicate 
taste, said to me, ' Since I have been in Egypt, deceived 
in all my expectations, I have been constantly heavy 
and melancholy, but Tentyra has cured me : what I 
have seen this day has repaid me for all my fatigues ; 
whatever happens to me m the event of this expedition, 
I shall all my life congratulate myself at having embark- 
ed in it, to have obtained the remembrance of this day, 
which I shall preserve all the rest of my existence.' "* 

This extract will afford the means of judging how far imperfect 
the members of the French Institute had an opportunity orportunitiei 
of examining the buildings of which they have under- sjivans. 
taken to give at once a description and a copy. Denon 
himself admits that, as their troops were engaged in 
pursuit of an enemy constantly mounted, the movements 
of the division were invariably both unforeseen and com- 

• Travels in Upper and Lower Egypt, vol. i. p. 295. 


CHAP. VI. plicated ; and, consequently, that he was sometimes 
~~~ obliged to pass rapidly over the most interesting monu- 
ments, and, at other times, to stop where there was 
nothing to observe.* 
Dramngs oy We must not, however, omit to mention that, at a sub- 
sequent period, Denon returned to this interesting scene 
of antiquities, where he copied the zodiac and the celes- 
tial planisphere, which have excited so much discussion 
among the pliilosophers of Europe. He copied also the 
rest of the ceiling, which is divided into two equal parts 
by the large figure already mentioned, that seems to be 
Fisnire of an Isis ; her feet resting upon the earth, her arms ex- 
tended towards heaven, while she appears to occupy all 
the space between. In another part of the ceiling is a 
figure equally large, probably representing heaven or 
the year, A\'ith its hands and feet on the same level, 
and enfolding, with the curvature of the body, fourteen 
globes, placed on as many boats, distributed over seven 
beads or zones, separated from each other by number- 
less hieroglyphs, but too much covered with stalactites 
and smoke to allow of its being taken. 
Supposed All the world knows that the French mathematicians 

mscoveriesf' discovered in these astronomical drawings, compared 
with the corresponding emblems at Esneh, certain proofs 
of an antiquity usually thought inconsistent with the 
clironology of the Sacred Writings, Signor Visconti 
published some calculations on this subject, which drew 
from M. de Lalande a series of remarks, inserted in the 
" Connaissances des Tems" for the year 1807. These 
authors agree in the conclusion that the zodiac of Den- 
dera must have been formed in the fii-st century of the 
Supposed Christian era, or, at latest, before the year 132 of our 
zodiac of epoch. Mr Hamilton discovered two facts tending 
Dendera. greatly to confirm the opinion now stated ; the one fixing 
the reign of Tiberius as the period to which may be 
assigned the construction of the building ; the other 
affording the most satisfactory proof that th^ summer 

* Preface, p. iii. 


solstice was in Cancer when the zodiac was carved ; chap, vz 
whence it follows that the date in question could not be 
far removed from the birth of Christ. 

The coincidence here between the deductions of the Coincident 
astronomer and the observations of the traveller is very 'deductions, 
striking, and strengthens our confidence in the accuracy 
of both. But the speculations which follow on the 
celestial planisphere, as they assume a wider range, have 
not produced the same unanimity. From certain fig-ures 
which are introduced, Lalande is of opinion that it must Astronomical 
have been constructed at the time when the summer ^^"*'^°'^®' 
solstice was in the middle of the sign Cancer, or, in other 
words, about three thousand years ago ; and he refers 
his readers to the arguments he has adduced in another 
work, to prove that it was about this period the parti- 
cular system of the heavens was devised, in which Eu- 
doxus, eight hundred years afterwards, and Aratus his 
follower, described the sphere. While, however, he at- 
tributes this antiquity to the zodiac, he has no hesitation 
in allowing the probability that the temple itself, within 
which it Is engraved, may be of a much later date. 

From another process of calculation, into which our Calenlations 
limits forbid us to enter, Mr Hamilton infers that we " *"" '""^ 
cannot assign to this astronomical picture an antiquity 
less remote than four thousand five hundred years, the 
period the sun must have taken to pass through the two 
adjacent signs of Leo and Cancer, according to the an- 
nual precession of the equinoxes. He adds, indeed, in 
a note, that if we place the sun in the middle of Leo at 
the time of the solstice when this zodiac was constructed, 
we shall then assign to it only the antiquity of three 
thousand two hundred years ; that is, fourteen hundred 
years before the Christian era. This would leave a 
space amply sufficient for the acquisition of astronomical 
knowledge between the Deluge and the date specified.* 

The reasonings and conclusions, of which we have 
now presented an outline, have drawn upon their authors 

• Hamilton's Egyptiaca, p. 215. 



CHAP. ^^. 

sies on the 

represent a - 
tions of 

Errors both 
in character 
and style. 

Opinion of 
the author. 

a load of calumny by no means justifiable on any of the 
grounds which a generous and candid criticism is wont 
to assume. The positions, indeed, which they laboured 
to establish are liable to attack on various accounts, and 
especially because these are founded on a very incorrect 
copy of the astronomical sculptures which they under- 
took to explain. Denon appears to have spent but one 
day amid the ruins of Dendera, on a task which would 
have required the uninterrupted emplojTnent of several 
weeks ; and, accordingly, it is now nowhere denied that 
his drawings do not exliibit an exact representation, 
either of the zodiac or of the planisphere. Dr Richard- 
son, who had an opportunity of comparing the French 
work with the original, admits the elegance of the exe- 
cution, but declares that " it is perfectly foppish, and 
not the least Egyptian in its style or manner. It is. 
besides, extremely incorrect both in the drawing of the 
figures and in the hieroglyphics, as well as in the num- 
ber of stars which accompany them ; which last are 
both fewer in number, and differently arranged from 
what we found them to be in the ceiling. In point of 
sentiment it is equally inaccurate ; the several authors 
havmg imparted to the human figure an insipid and 
babyish expression, which one would not have expected 
from the companions of Napoleon ; and which is as 
foreign to the Egyptian character as the aspect of a child 
or an insipid coxcomb is to that of the Theseus, the 
Memnon, or the Apollo."* 

We cannot, however, agree with this intelligent 
traveller that the ceiling at Dendera has no connexion 
whatever with astronomy, but is merely a congregation 
of gods and goddesses, mythological bemgs, and religious 
processions. Perhaps there may be a scheme of general 
physics involved in the multifarious emblems displayed 
in the temple, — a theory of production and reproduction, 
of which the principles continue unknown, — but it is 
still more probable that the veneration shown by all 

* Travels, vol. i. p. 240 


ancient nations to the host of heaven, and an efrort to chap, vl 
trace their paths or positions in the immense regions of 
space, called forth the genius of the artist, and the wealth 
of the pious, in the ornaments of Tentyra.* 

Our object in this chapter, we have already remarked, ot.ject aimed 
is not to illustrate the opinions of the Egyptians, but to ' 
present a record of their taste and ability in the fine arts. 
For tliis purpose no portion of their labours, smce Thebes 
was trodden under foot and the Labyrinth disappeared, 
could be more happily selected than the ruins of Den- 
dera. Its columns, statues, sculptures, and hieroglyplis, vaine of 
are the admiration of the most refined people at present Dendera as 

1 m 11 1 ^" example. 

on the face of the earth. Travellers, who can agree m 

nothing else, unite in extolling the wonders of the tem- 
ple and portico. The ardent Frenchman, and the more 
phlegmatic native of Britam, are equally enthusiastic in 
their expressions of delight and astonishment. Even 
Belzoni, who was accustomed to the grandest sights, ac- 
knowledges that the majestic appearance of the temple, 

* Narrative, vol, i. p. 52. WTien at Dendera Mrs Elwood relates 
that " here we in vain searched for the famous circular zodiac 
which, by the descriptions of the temple we had read, we were 
aware must be in this neighbourhood; but, after a great numbpr of 
pantomimic signs had passed between us, the Arab guide made us 
understand it had been taken away ; and this we subsequently found 
was positively the case, a Frenchman having carried it off to Cairo ! 
What a Goth! to dismantle this majestic building for the purpose, 
in a manner more rude than even the Turks themselves ! We, how- 
ever, saw the spot where — alas! that I should say — it had been. 

C observed that the figures in the temple closely resembled 

those he had seen in India ; and in fact it was here that the sepoys, 
when brought into Egypt, prostrated themselves in adoration, 
thinking they saw their own deities before them, which proves 
there is a strong affinity between the worship of the ancient Egyp- 
tians and that of the modern Hindoos." — Narrative of a Journey 
Overland from England to India, vol. i. p. 213. 

It is generally known that the zodiac, the removal of which 
occasioned so much indignation to this lady, has been some time in 
Paris. The rivalry which animates the tourists and philosophers of 
France and England threatens to inflict upon the interesting remains 
of Egyptian art a greater injury than they have sustained from the 
ravages of two thousand years, and from the assaults of all the 
barbarian conquerors who have possessed the country, from Nebu- 
chadnezzar to Mohammed Ali. 



Opinions as 
to tlie age of 
the imins. 

CHAP. VI. and the variety of its ornaments, had such an effect on 
him that he seated liimself on the ground, and for a 
considerable time was lost in admiration. 

The monuments of Tentyra, it is generally admitted, 
do not possess that high degree of antiquity which be- 
longs to the buildings of Thebes. As a proof of this, it 
is mentioned that the basis of the large temple in the 
former place stands upon a terrace which is still fifteen 
feet above the level of the neighbouring country ; whUe 
sunilar terraces at Thebes are only on a level with the 
surface of the Nile, above which they were, beyond a 
doubt, once greatly elevated. Visconti therefore, and 
after him Belzoni, inferred that the temple at Dendera 
was not older than the time of the Ptolemies, or perhaps 
that of the Romans ; but Jollois, on the contrary, ex- 
presses his finn conviction that, from the style of the 
sculptures, they cannot have been executed since the 
invasion of Cambyses, and were probably at least as old 
as the tomb of Psammis, who lived in the days of Josiah, 
king of Judah. 

It is obvious, when we reflect that Tentyra was built 
at a considerable distance from the river, the argument 
drawn from the elevation of the soil, occasioned by the 
annual flood, does not apply to the question at issue ; 
while the inscriptions found on many of the ancient 
monuments of Egypt cannot be understood in any other 
sense than as a re-dedication of the fabric to a popular 
monarch, — a practice sanctioned by the usage of all 
ages. But, on other accounts, we concur hi the views of 
Belzoni with regard to the date of the pi-incipal edifices.* 

tion of 

of Belzoni's 

* As every notice respecting Dendera must be interesting to the 
classical reader, we subjoin a brief account of it given by one of the 
latest travellers in Egypt : — " Traversing an embankment against 
the river, we arrived at a noble portico or entrance, near which are 
the remains of a village and fragments of pottery scattered about. 
This portico stands alone in a plain, is of great solidity and strength 
and is covered with hieroglyphs. Jt is m such a fine state of pre- 
servation that it can scarcely be called a ruin. Up to the level of 
the floor where you enter, the edifice is much choked with rubbish ; 
but one large stone only obstructs the entrance, without, however 


Leaving Dendera, we proceed to Thebes, the remains CHAP. \T. 
of which, though not possessed of greater elegance and i hebes. 
beauty, are usually regarded with a larger share of in- 
terest. The vast extent of the ruins is itself a subject of 
profound attention. The ancient city extended from 
the ridge of mountains which skirt the Arabian Desert 
to the similar elevation which bounds the valley of the e^™„°^ t^g 
Nile on the west, being in circumference not less than city, 
twenty-seven miles. But its actual situation may per- 
haps be more successfully represented to the fancy by 
the descriptions of those who have recently examined it, 
and whose first impressions, though recorded in language 
which may seem inflated, supply, it is probable, a faith- 
ful picture of the manifest desolation for wliich alone it 
is now celebrated. The following paragraph, extracted 
from the work of Denon, the author already mentioned, 
is sufficiently striking : — 

" At nine o'clock, in making a sharp turn round a Jj'y ootoi^" 
projecting point, we discovered all at once the site of the 
ancient Thebes in its whole extent. This celebrated 
city, the size of which Homer has characterized with 
the single expression of the hundred-gated, — a boasting 
and poetical phrase which has been repeated with so 
much confidence for so many centuries ; — this illustrious 
city, described in a few pages dictated to Herodotus by 

preventing your riding through. Farther on stands the temple, 
which being situated in a hollow, appeared at a distance to be not 
very extensive ; but upon my close approach, it astonished and 
dehghted me with its vast and magnificent appearance. Its nume- 
rous noble columns all meet the eye at once. I then visited the 
adjoining chamber, and ascending, with lights in my hand, a mound 
of dust and rubbish which entirely chokes it up, I found myself to 
my surprise near the ceiling, where the columns are of different 
architecture. I descended into a much smaller chamber, having 
two hundred columns, but covered with hieroglyphs ; and at the 
end of this was the entrance to a third, upon putting our lights into 
which, multitudes of bats flew out. In returning we passed through 
other passages to more apartments, all tenanted by bats. It was 
from the ceiling of one of the inner apartments of this temple that 
the French took the beautiful zodiac, once so much talked of. Near 
this temple are two others, inhabited by bats, pigeons, and owls." — 
iMadox's Excursions, vol. i. p. 273 





Sources of 

by Mrs. C. 

of former 

Egj'ptian priests, that have since been copied by every 
historian, — celebrated by the number of its kings, whose 
wisdom liad raised them to the rank of gods, — by laws 
wliich have been revered without being promulgated, — 
by science, involved in pompous and enigmatical inscrip- 
tions, — the first monuments of ancient learning which 
are' stiU spared b}' the hand of time ; — this abandoned 
sanctuary, surrounded with barbarism, and again restored 
to the desert from w^liich it had been dra^^^l forth, — en- 
veloped in the veil of mystery and the obscurity of ages, 
w^hereby even its own colossal monuments are magnified 
to the imagination, — still unpressed the mind with such 
gigantic phantoms that the ^hole army, suddenly and 
with one accord, stood in amazement at the sight of its 
scattered ruins, and clapped their hands with deliglit, as 
if the end and object of their glorious toils, and the com- 
plete conquest of Egypt, were accomplished and secured 
by taking possession of the splendid remains of this 
ancient metropolis."* 

Another traveller, less enthusiastic than Denon, de- 
scribes the effect of a first sight in the following terms : — 
" While I was leisurely travellmg along, thinking only 
of our arrival at Luxor, one of the party who had pre- 
ceded us called to me from a rising ground to turn to 
the left ; and having gone a few yards off the road, I 
beheld unexpectedly the temple of Karnac. It was 
long after I reached my tent ere I recovered from the 
bewilderment into wliich the view of these stupendous 
ruins had thrown me. No one who has not seen them 
can understand tlie awe and admiration they excite even 
in unscientific beholders. When I compare the descrip- 
tions of Denon and Hamilton, I find them essentially 
correct, yet Avithout givmg me any adequate idea of the 
glorious reality. They fail in describing what has never 
been, and which, I think, never can be described. No 
words can impart a conception of the profusion of pillai-s, 
standing, prostrate, incluiing against each other, broken 

■ Travels in Upper and Lower Egypt, vol. i. p. 3. 


and whole. Stones of a gigantic size propped ixp by chap. \i 
'pillars, and pillars again resting upon stones Avhich ,^^^^.^^. 
appear ready to crush the gazer under their sudden fall ; iiii\de<]uncy 
yet, on a second view, he is convinced that nothing but co^^eet*^* 
an earthquake could move them ; all these pillars, co- iinprtssiouii. 
vered with sculpture, perhaps three thousand years old, 
though fresh as if finished but yesterday, — not of gro- 
tesque and hideous objects, such as we are accustomed 
to associate with ideas of Egyptian mythology, but many 
of the figures of gods, warriors, and horses much larger 
than life, yet exhibiting surpassing beauty and grace."* 

The modern Egyptians, either with the view of ob- sites of 
taining materials at little expense of labour, or in order "°[!|f ™ 
that their hovels might be secure from the periodical 
mundations of the river, are commonly found to have 
built their villages on the ruins of an ancient temple or 
palace, even on the very summit of the roof and most 
elevated part of the walls. Hence the gi'andeur of Thebes 
must now be traced in four small towns or hamlets, — 
Luxor, Karnac, Medmet Abou, and Gomoo. Following 
the best authorities, which, in this case, are usually the 
most recent, we proceed to lay before the reader a brief 
description of the principal buildings which time and 
barbarism have spared within the precincts of this cele- 
brated capital. 

In approaching the temple of Luxor from the north, Gateway of 
the first object is a magnificent gateway, which is two Luxur. 
hundred feet in length, and the top of it fifty-seven feet 
above the present level of the soil. In front of the en- 
trance are two of the most perfect obelisks in the world, 
each consistuig of a single block of red granite. They 
are between seven and eight feet square at the base, and 
more than eighty feet high ; many of the hicroglyphical 
figures with which they are covered being an inch and 
three quarters deep, cut with the gi-eatest nicet}' and 
precision. Between these obelisks and the propylou are 

* Narrative of a Journey from Calcutta to Europe. By Mrs 
Charles Lushington, p. lil. 





CHAP. VI. two colossal statues, also of red granite ; they are nearly 
of equal size, but, fi-om the difference of the dress, it is 
inferred that the one was a male, the other a female 
figure. Though buried in the ground to the chest, they 
still measure about twenty-two feet from tlience to the 
top of their mitres.* 

On the eastern wing of the northem front of the pro- 
pylon there is sculptured a very anmiated description 
of a remarkable event in the campaigns of some Egyptian 
conqueror. The disposition of the figures and the exe- 
cution of the whole pictui'e are equally admirable, and 
far surpass all ideas that have ever been formed of the 
state of the arts at the remote era to which they must 
be attributed. The moment chosen for the representation 
of the battle is that when the troops of the enemy are 
driven back upon their fortress, and the assailants, in 
the full career of victory, are about to become masters 
of the citadel. 
Description The commauder, behind whom is borne aloft the royal 
o t le et. . g4a^ji(jaj.(j^ ig of a, colossal size, and advances in a car drawn 
by two horses. His helmet is adorned with a globe, and 
has a serpent at each side. He is in the act of shootmg 
an arrow from a bow, which is full stretched ; around 
him are quivei-s, and at his feet a lion in the act of 
rushing forward. There is a great deal of life and spirit 
in the form and attitude of the horses, which are at full 
gaUop, — feathers waving over their heads, and the reins 
fastened round the body of the conqueror. Beneath 
the wheels of the car, and under the hoofs and bellies o^ 
the horses, are crowds of dead and wounded men. On 
the side of the enemy are seen horses in full speed 
with empty cars ; others unmindful of the rein ; and all 
at last rushing headlong down a precijjice into a deep 
river which washes the walls of the town. The expres- 
sion here, too, is exceedingly good. Nowhere has the 
artist shown more skill than in two particular groups ; 

* .\ view of this propylon or gateway forms the vignette of the 
present volume. 


in one of which the horses, arrived at the verge of the chap. VI. 
precipice, instantly fall down, while the driver, clinging 
with one hand to the car, the reins and whip falling 
from the other, and his whole body trembling with de- 
spair, is about to be hurled over the backs of his steeds. 
In the other group the horses still find a footing on the 
side of the hill, and are hurrying forward the charioteers 
to inevitable destruction. 

Immediately in front of the conqueror are several cars war- 
in full speed rushing towards the walls of the toAvn ; but ciianooi. 
even in these the Avarriors are not beyond the reach of 
the arrows darted from his unerring bow ; and when 
wounded they look back on their pursuer as they falL 
Further on, more fortunate fugitives are passing the 
river ; in which are mingled horses, chariots, arms, and 
men, expressed in the most faithful manner, and repre- 
sented in all attitudes. Some have already reached the night ot 
opposite bank, where their friends, who are drawn up "S't'^es. 
in order of battle, but have not courage to engage in 
fight, drag them to the shore. Others, having escaped 
by another road, are entering the gates of the town amid 
the shrieks and lamentations of those within. Towers, 
ramparts, and battlements are crowded with inhabitants, 
who are chiefly women, and old men with venerable 
beards. A party of the latter are seen sallying forth 
headed by a youth whose splendid dress and high tur- 
ban mark him out as some distinguished chieftain ; 
while, on either side of the towTi, are observed large 
bodies of infantry, and a great force of chariots issuing 
from the gates, and advancmg apparently by different 
routes to attack the besiegers. 

The ardour with which the hero of the piece is ad- Arddurof tUa 
vancing has already carried liim far beyond the main ^^'^'^'^ 
body of liis own army, and he is there alone, among the 
slain and wounded who liave sunk under his powerful 
arm. Behind this scene the two lines of the enemy 
join their strength, and attack iii a body the forces of 
the invaders who move on to meet them. Besides the 
peculiarity of th« incidents represented in this interesting 


CHAP. VI. piece of sculpture, there may be traced an evident dis- 
T.. .. r„„ tinction between the short dresses of the EffATDtians and 

Distinction _ _ . t 

of costume, the long robes of their oriental enemies, whether In- 
dians, Persians, or Bactrians ; — the different forms of 
the car or chariot, — the native vehicle containing two 
warriors, the foreign one being loaded with three ; and 
above all the difference of the anns, — the soldiers of 
Sesostris having a bow and arrows, while their anta- 
gonists vibrate spears or brandish short javelins. 
Breaking the At One extremity of the western wing of the propylon 
lunlS^ * the begmntng of this engagement appears to be repre- 
sented ; the same monarch bemg seen at the head of his 
troops advancing against the double line of the enemy, 
and first breaking their ranks. At the other extremity 
of the same wing the conqueror is seated on his throne 
after the victory, holding a sceptre in his left hand, and 
enjoying the barbarous pleasure of beholding eleven of 
the principal captives tied together in a row with a cord 
about their necks. The foremost stretches out his hands 
imploring pity ; another is on his knees just gomg to be 
put to death by two executioners ; wliile above them is 
the vanquished monarch with his arms bound behind 
him to a car, about to be dragged in triumph before the 
Treatment of In the rear of the throne different captives are suffer- 
ciiptives. ing death in vai-ious ways ; some like the Briareus, the 
executioner holding them by the hair of the head ; 
others dragged at the wheels of chariots, or slain by the 
arrow or the scimitar. Next appears in view the con- 
queror's camp, round which are placed his treasures, and 
where his servants are preparing a feast to celebrate the 
Vaine of Perhaps no stronger evidence of an indirect nature 

evWence. could be adduced in support of a great historical fact 
connected with ancient Egypt, than the picture now 
described. We allude to the victorious career of Se- 
sostris, who is said to have carried war into Asia, where 
he distinguished his arms by several brilliant conquests. 
The long robes and head-dress of the enemy place the 


scene of action in the East ; the mode of fighting, too, chap. \t. 
accords with the circumstances of an oriental campaign ; 
while the result agrees entirely with the narrative which 
occupies the pages of the Greek authors who have de 
scribed the exploits of the Egyptian hero. 

It was impossible, says Mr Hamilton, " to view and Reflection? 
to reflect upon a picture so copious and so detailed the picture! '^ 
as this I have just described, without fancying that we 
saw here the original of many of Homer's battles, the 
portrait of some of the historical narratives of Hero- 
dotus, and one of the principal ground-works of the de 
scription of Diodorus : And, to complete the gratifi- 
cation, we felt that, had the artist been better acquainted 
with the rules of perspective, the performance might 
have done credit to the genius of a Michael Angelo or a 
Julio Romano. To add to the effect, in front of this 
wall had been erected a row of colossal figures of gra- 
nite ; fragments of some of them, still there, sufficiently 
attest their size, then* character, and the exquisite polish 
of the stone." 

All this magnificence and cost, the reader is aware, are First poitica 
lavished on a gateway. On passing it the traveller en- 
ters a ruined portico of very large dimensions ; and from 
this a double row of seven columns, with lotus capitals, 
two and twenty feet in circumference, conducts him into 
a coui-t one hundred and sixty feet long, and one hun- 
dred and forty wide, terminated at each side by a similar 
row of pillars ; beyond which is another portico of Secnnd 
thirty-two columns, and tl'cn the adytum, or interior adytum. 
part of the building. It is conjectured, with much plau- 
sibility, that this is the edifice to which the description 
of Diodorus applies as the palace or tomb of the great 
Osymandias ; allowance being made foi the embellish- 
ments of that author in which he has introduced some of 
the more striking features that distinguish the larger 
buildings of Thebes. 

Karnac, which is about a mile and a half lower down, 
is regarded as the principal site of Diospolis, the portion 
of the ancient capital wliich remained most entire in the 





of it 



Avenue of 


days of Strabo. The temple at the latter place has been 
pronounced, in respect to its magnitude and the beauty 
of its several parts, as having no parallel in tlie whole 
world. Mr Hamilton admits that, with regard to its 
general plan, the distribution of the entrances, and the 
interior of the building, the descriptions of Pococke and 
Denou are tolerably accurate. But he adds that, without 
personally inspecting this extraordinary structure, it is 
impossible to have any adequate notion of its immense 
size, or of the prodigious masses of which it consists. 
This edifice has twelve principal entrances, each of which 
is composed of several pro2:)yla and colossal gateways, 
besides other buUdings attached to them, in themselves 
larger than most other temples. The sides of some of 
these are equal to the bases of the greater number of the 
pyramids in ]\Iiddle Egypt, and are built in the rustic 
style, each layer of stone projecting a little beyond that 
which is above it. One of the propyla is entirely of 
granite, adorned with the most exquisite hieroglyphs. 
On each side of many of them have been colossal statues 
of basalt and granite, from twenty to thirty feet in 
height, — some in the attitude of sitting, others standing 
erect. The avenues of sphinxes that lead m several di- 
rections to the propyla, one of which was contmued the 
whole way across the plain to the temple at Luxor, 
nearly two miles distant, correspond to the magnificence 
of the principal structure. The body of the temple, 
which is preceded by a large court, at whose sides are 
colonnades of tliirty columns in length, and through the 
middle of which are two rows not less than fifty feet 
high, consists, first, of a prodigious hall or portico, the 
roof sustained by 134 pillars, some of which are twenty- 
six feet in circumference, and others tliirty-four. Next 
appear four beautiful obelisks, marking the entrance to 
the adytum, near which the monarch is represented as 
embraced by the arms of Isis. This sanctuary consista 
of three apartments, entirely of granite. The principal 
room is m the centre ; it is twenty feet long, sixteen 
wide, and thirteen feet high. Three blocks of granite 


form the roof, which is painted with clusters of stars, oe chap. vi. 
a blue ground. The walls are likewise covered with oecJi^ons 
painted sculptures, of a character admirably suited to of the ceiling. 
the mysterious purposes to which the chamber was some- 
times devoted,* Beyond this are other porticos and gal- 
leries, which liave been continued to a third propylon, at 
the distance of two thousand feet from that at the west- 
ern extremity of the temple. 

This is certainly the building which Diodorus Siculus Ancient 
attempts to describe as the most wonderful and most (lescriptious. 
ancient of the four Temples at Thebes, remarkable for 
their magnitude and beauty. In enumerating its co- 
lossal proportions, he says that it was thirteen stadia — 
a mile and a half — in circumference ; forty-five cubits 
high ; and the walls twenty-four feet thick ; adding, 
that the ornaments, riches, and workmanship wliich 
combined to embellish it, corresponded to its vast ex- 
tent. The above dimensions, however great, are in 
many instances found to fall short of the truth.t 

It were needless, says the author from whose work immense 
we have abridged this account, to enumerate with a variety of 
more minute detail the different apartments, the co- 
lumns, the colossal statues, the gateways, or the obelisks 
of this immense edifice. Denon concludes the partial 
description which he has attempted, by declaring that 
" one is fatigued with writing, one is fatigued with read- Remarks of 
ing, one is stunned witli the thought of such a concep- Denon. 
tion. It is hardly possible to believe, after having seen 
it, in the reality of the existence of so many buildings 
collected at a single point, in their dimensions, in the 
resolute perseverance which their construction required, 
and in the incalculable expenses of so much magni- 
ficence. On examining these ruins, the imagination is 
wearied with the idea of describing them. Of the hun- 
dred columns of the porticos alone of this temple, the 

• Herodotus, Clio, 182. 

t For a view of this palace or temple, the reader is referred to 
the plate at page 58, where it is described as the work of Osymbn- 
dias or Sesostris, the warlike kinfr of Egypt. 


CHAP. VI. smallest are seven feet and a half in diameter, and the 
Proport^ions largest twelve. The space occupied by this circumval- 
oftheco- lation contains lakes and mountains. In short, to be 
"™"'* enabled to form a competent idea of so much mag-nifi- 

cence, it is necessary that the reader should fancy what 
is before him to be a dream, as he who views the objects 
themselves occasionally yields to the doubt Avhether he 
be perfectly awake."* 
Pimensions The dimensions of the great edifice at Karnac are 
of the temple. ,^^^^^ j200 feet in length and 420 in width. But the 
principal fane, grand and imposing as it is, sinks into 
nothing when compared with the extent and number of 
the buildings which surround it, — the prodigious gate- 
ways of polislied granite, covered with sculpture and 
adorned with colossal statues, — the subordinate temples 
which any where else would be esteemed magnificent 
piles, — and the avenues, which approach it from almost 
every pomt of the compass, miles in length, and guarded 
by rows of sphinxes, of vast size, cut out of single blocks 
Extent of the of syenite. The field of ruins at Karnac is about a mile 
ruins. jjj diameter. Probably the whole of this space was once, 

in the prouder days of Thebes, consecrated entirely to 
the use of the temple. There are traces of walls consi- 
derably beyond this, which, we may presume, enclosed 
the city when at its greatest extent ; but after the seat 
of government was withdrawn, the capital transferi-cd to 
Mempliis, and the trade removed to another maii, the 
inhabitants narrowed the circle of their defences, and 
built their houses within the limits of the sacred con- 
Additional But Luxor and Karnac represent only one-half of 
ThebM.^ °^ ancient Thebes. On the western side of the river there 
are several structures which, although they may be less 

* " On est fatigue d'ecrire, on est fatigue de lire, on est epouvante 
de lapensee d'une telle conception ; on ne peutcroire, memeapres 
I'avoir vu, a la realite de I'existence de tant de constructions reunies 
sur un meme point, a leur dimensions, a la Constance obstinee qu':» 
exigee leur fabrication, aux depenses incalculables de tant desonn'.- 
tuosite." — Tome ii. p. '^26. 

t Richardson's Travels, vol. ii. p. 06, 


extensive, are equal, if not superior, in their style of chap. A'I 
architecture. We cannot, however, enter upon a de- Temples at 
scription of the temj^les at Dair and Medinet Abou. Caii-and 
Suffice it to observe that the propylon of the latter is Abou. 
about 175 feet long, and very richly adorned with the 
usual embellishments of sculpture and inscriptions. The 
temple itself is in length somewhat more than five hun- 
dred feet, while the cella is nearly a hundred and fifty 
broad without the walls. The Memnonium, the rums Memnoniura 
of which give a melancholy celebrity to northern Dair, 
is still more remarkable, and is perhaps one of the most 
ancient in Thebes. This beautiful relic of antiquity 
looks towards the east, and is fronted by a stupendous 
propylon, of which 234 feet in length are still remaining. 
The principal edifice has been about 200 feet broad, and 
600 feet long ; containing six courts and chambers, pass- 
ing from side to side, with about 160 columns thirty feet Ifsdestnic- 
high. All the side-walls have been broken dov^'n, and 
the materials of which they were composed carried 
away ; nothing remaining but a portion of the colon- 
nade and the inner chambers, to testify to the travellei 
what a noble structure once occupied this interesting 

There is a circumstance mentioned by a recent vi- Juxta post- 
siter, which is too important to be overlooked in detail- templei * 
ing the unrivalled grandeur of ancient Thebes. The 
temple at Medinet Abou was so placed as to be exactly 
ojiposite to that of Luxor, on the other side of the Nile ; 
while the magnificent structure at Kamac was fronted 
by the Memnonium or temple of Dair : And hence all 
these grand objects formed so many stages or prominent 
points in the religious processions of the priests. Though 
the tabernacle of Jupiter dwelt at Kamac, the proper 
Dio-spolis, yet it was carried over the river every year, 
and remained a few days in Libya ; and we find, from 
a general estimate, that there was a space of between 

* The dimensions given in the great French work (Antiquita 
IManches, ii. 27, 33), are about 530 feet long and 200 wide. 

214 REMAINS OF ANCIENT ART nine and ten miles, over Avhich ttey miglit exhibit the 
Arealbr pomp and parade of their superstition both going and 
piocessiona returning. Ahnost every part of the road, tlirough this 
immense theatre, was lined with sphinxes, statues, 
Avenues. propyla, and other objects calculated to inflame the 
ardour of devotion ; and, in all the imposing cere- 
monies of pagan idolatry, it is impossible to conceive 
any tiling more impressive than the view which must 
have burst upon the sight of the enraptured votaries 
when, at the close of the solemnity, they entered with 
their god the grand temple of Karnac, to replace him 
in his shrine with harps and cjTnbals, and songs of 
Colossal The IMemnonium is remarkable for the remains of 

statues of the , . ,, j.iijr c -u- v, 

siemnoaium. ^wo mimense statues, tlie nead oi one oi wnicn was con- 
veyed a few years ago to the British Museum. After 
ascending some steps in the tomb or temple, — for it may 
be considered as either or both, — the visiter enters a 
rectangular court, 160 feet wide by 140 in depth, which 
has had a row of pillars on the right hand and on the 
left. At the extremity of this court near the entrance 
into the second, are the fragments of that enormous 
sitting statue which has properly been described as the 
largest in Egypt. 

Fallen statue. But, besides this huge colossus, there is another 
mentioned by Norden who travelled in the beginning of 
the last century. He describes it as " entire, and of a 
single piece of granite-marble, but its height is only 
moderate. It is at present thrown down, lying on its 
face, and half buried in the ground. All that is visible 

' Richardson, vol. ii. p. 95. 

^Ir Madox records the impression made on his mind in the fol- 
lowing words : " After breakfast, I rode solus to that beautiful 
temple of columns at Karnac, about a mile and a half from Luxor. 
— I came rather suddenly upon the avenue of sphinxes, which must 
formerly have had a most superb effect, leading to the entrance of 
this wonderful edifice. All that surrounded me looked as if built 
for eternity. The ponderous magnificence struck awe into my soul, 
as I stood gaznig at the stupendous scene before me." — v'ol. u 
p. 383. 


appears quite free from damage ; and with respect to chap. VL 
the attitude, it is the same as that of the other colossi of 
which I have spoken."* 

Tlie distinction between the two figures in the Mem- Salt's 
nonium was clearly recognised by Mr Salt in his in- Jo^Beizonh^ 
structions to Belzoni, who undertook to remove the 
smaller one. " It must not," said the consul, " be mis- 
taken for another lying in that neighbourliood, which 
is much mutilated." But the statue described by Nor- 
den, as being entire with its face downwards, was found 
by the adventurous traveller who went in search of it, 
with its face upwards and the trunk very much shat- 
tered. He would not venture to say who separated the 
bust from the rest of the body, or by whom its position 
had been mverted. There was also a hole drilled in the 
right breast, evidently the work of some modern, and 
no doubt intended to hold gunpowder, for the purpose of 
blowing off the right shoulder also, and rendering the 
removal of the head more easy. 

After looking at all the evidence, we may say with a Fracture of 
recent author, we have no difficulty in expressing our ''"= statue, 
conviction that this was done by the French when they 
visited Thebes. They turned the face of the statue up- 
wards, and blew off part of the body, but after all they 
were compelled, frvjm some cause or other, to leave it 
behind. It is curious, as Nohden and Burckhardt re- Anticipatory 
mark, that in the drawing of this statue as we see it in '^''^''^'^s- 
the great French work on Egypt, the right shoulder is 
wanting, which would have been the case had they 
succeeded in blowing it off. The drawing was probably 
made on the spot, and the figure represented in that 
condition in whicu they had expected to send it liome. 
There is, of course, no sigii of tlie great hole in the 
Memnon's right snoulder, m the Parisian engraving, as 
the part that contains it is omitted. If they did this 
damage to the statue, with the view of shattering the 
right shoulder just like the left, we may readily lielieve 

* Travels, vol. ii. p. 128 




Removal of 
the head to 

character of 
tJie statue. 

Its estimation 
as a worli of 

Fine propor- 

they went so far as to break the whole in pieces, which, 
down to the year 1800, was probably as entire as when 
Norden saw it." 

After much labour, 'Mr Belzoni, in the year 181.5, 
succeeded in conveying the bust and head of this figure 
to Alexandria, whence it was shipped for England. The 
material of which it is composed is a peculiar kind of 
granite, known by the name of syenite, of one entire 
mass but two distinct colours. With great judgment 
the head was formed out of the red part of the block, 
while the dark part was appropriated to the breast and 
probably to the rest of the body. The figure must have 
been originally placed in a sitting posture, like most of 
the Egyptian colossal statues, for it was found " near the 
remains of its body and chair." Its height from the soln 
of the foot to the top of the head, in its seated position, 
appears to have been about twenty-four feet ; for the 
fragment in the ^luseum, which may be about one^ 
third of the whole, is somewhat more than eight from 
the summit of the head-dress to the lowest part of the 
bust. The weight of the mass is estimated at between 
ten and twelve tons. 

It is universally agreed that this is one of the finest 
specimens of colossal sculpture now known to exist, and 
presents a strikuig example of the high attamments of 
the Egyptian artists in this branch of their professional 
pursuits. The working of so hard and unwieldy a mass 
of stone into any resemblance of tlie human form, and 
the conferring on it so high a degree of polish, would of 
itself have been an acliievement worthy of the greatest 
admiration. But that the proportion of the parts should 
have been so well preserved, and that beauty should 
have been impressed on this immense face, proves that 
at least some kinds of sculpture were once carried to a 
high degree of perfection in Egypt, though they may 
not be of that description of art wliich our earliest asso- 

* Library of Entertaining Knowledge. British Mnseutn. vol. i 
P- 2t3. Nohden Ueber das sogennante Jleranon's-Bild, &c. 


ciations have taught us to admire. In the statues of chap, vi. 
that country, calmness and repose are the most strikmg superior 
characteristics ; but this figure shows somewhat more, expression. 
It represents a young man ; the breast is broad and 
well-defined ; and the beard united in one mass adheres 
to the chin. The line of the eyebrows, perhaps, does 
not project enough above the eyeball ; the tip of the 
nose, also, may appear too much rounded ; and the ears, 
as is usual in Egyptian heads, are placed too high ; but 
even with these defects, and with lips too thick for our 
notions, the face is full of softness, tranquillity, and 

The figure now described is known by the name of Name of the 
the younger Memnon, partly because it was found in * "■ "^ 
that temple to which the title of Memnonium is applied 
by modern writers, partly also because it belongs to that 
class of statues with which the memory of the celebrated 
monarch is associated. But the other, the remains of 
which are still seen within the precincts of the same 
court, is of much larger dimensions. It is composed of Destruction 
red granite, is broken off at the waist, and the upper °mtj\g'"°'' 
part is lying on the back. The face is entirely oblite- 
rated by the hand of man ; and to the same cause must 
be ascribed the general destruction of which it has 
become the victim. The foot which remains entire 
measures 6 feet 10 inches across ; the breadth between Giaantic 
the shoulders is 26 feet ; and the circumfei-ence of the '^i'^ 
chest is about 03 fcot. The hieroglyphical characters 
engraved on the arm are large enough for a man to 
walk in ; the length of the nail of the second toe is 
about one foot ; and the length of the toe to the inser- 
tion of the nail is one foot eleven inches. In its fall it 
has carried along with it the whole of the temple wall 
within its reach.t 

* Description de I'Egypte, tome i. p. 129. British Museum, vol. 
I. p. 253. 

t There is in the British Museum a huge fist of red granite, ima- 
gined by some to belong to the statue described above, though the 
evidence for this fact is by no means satisfactory. The French, by 


CHAP. VI. This colossus has sometimes been confounded with 
Statues near another which also bears the name of i\Iemnon, and has 
Medinet been long celebrated for its vocal qualities. This last, 
however, is one of the two statues \Tilgarly called Shamy 
and Damy, which stand at a little distance from Medinet 
Abou, in the direction of the Nile. These, we are told, 
are nearly equal in magnitude, being about 52 feet in 
height. The thrones on which they respectively rest 
are thirty feet long, eighteen broad, and between seven 
and eight feet high. They are placed about forty feet 
asunder ; are in a line with each other ; and look to- 
wards the east, directly opposite to the temple of Luxor. 
Comparison If there be any difference of size, the southern one is the 
of the pair of smaller. It appears to be of one entire stone, but the face, 
arms, and fi-ont of the body, have suffered so much from 
studied violence that not a feature of the countenance 
remains. The head-dress is beautifully wrought, as also 
the shoulders, which, with the back, continue quite un- 
injured. The massy hair projects from behind the ears 
like that of the Sphinx. The sides of the throne are 
Ornaments, highly ornamented with the elegant device of two 
bearded figures tying the stem of the flexible lotus round 
the ligula. This colossus is m a sitting posture, with the 
hands resting upon the knees. On the outside of each 
Small statnes '^^ ^^^^ limbs there is a small statue, with spiked crowns 
attached. on their heads, and the arms down by the side. They 
sta^-d up in front of the pedestal, and reach nearly to 
the knee. The legs of the great statue are divided, and 
between the feet there is another diminutive figure 
whose head does not rise higher than the two just de- 

whom it was surrendered to the British, say that they obtained it 
among the ruins of JMemphis, where there are still the remains of 
a colossus large enough to match with this rehc. The dimensions 
of the fist are as follows : 


Circumference of wrist-bone, 80 

Length from wrist-joint to knuckle of middle finger, 32 

Length of long joint of middle finger, 26 

Width of all the four fingers, 30J 

of middle finger, 9 


The otlier statue, which stands on the north side, ap- chap, vi 
pears to be that of the vocal Memnon. It presents the xiieTocai 
same attitude as its companion, witli a similar figure MeTunon. 
between the feet and on each side of the legs. It has, 
however, been broken over at the waist, — an effect 
which was reported to Strabo to have been produced by 
an earthquake. In his time the head, with the disrupted injury and 
half of the body, lay on the ground ; the other half re- lestoratioa 
maining in the original position which it still occupies. 
The part that liad been broken off is now carried away, 
and the figure is again completed by courses of common 
sandstone, forming the back, neck, and head. It is en- 
tirely fashioned Uke the upper part of the other, having 
several hierogh^phs and other emblems carved between 
the shoulders ; but, as the stone is not susceptible of such 
elegant workmanship, no attempt has been made to imi- 
tate the drapery which adorns its more fortunate neigh- 
bour. Upon that portion of the celebrated statue which Ornaments of 

still remains, or rather upon the side of the throne, the ^^'^ ?'''«■■ 
n ^ 111/' • 11 portions, 

ornament ot the two bearded figures tymg the lotus 

round the stalk of the ligula, with the accompanying 

sculptures, are as fresh and distinct as on the other. The 

drapery, too, as far as can now be determined, must 

have been originally the same in both. 

But, says a traveller to whom reference has been Evidenws of 

repeatedly made, " what characterizes this as the statue '*^ ^f^^ "'^ 

of vocal celebrity are the numerous inscriptions, both in 

Greek and Latin, in verse and prose, with which it is 

covered ; aU of them attesting that the writers had 

heard the heavenly voice of Memnon at the first dawn 

of day, — feeble indeed at first, but afterwards becoming 

strong and powerful like a trumpet. We searched with 

eagerness for the name of the illustrious geographer 

quoted above ; but, if ever it was there, it is now among 

the many illegibles that no human eye can decipher. 

Julia Romilla, Cecilia Treboulla, Pulitha Balbima, and in<K;ription3 

many others, attest that they heard the voice of the on the statue 

Memnon, when along with the Emperor Adrian and 

his royal consort Sabina, whom they seem to have ac- 



CHAP. VI. companied in their tour throughout the country. One 
person writes, — I hear (audio) the Memnon ; and another 
person, — I heard the Memnon, sittmg in Thebes opposite 
to Diospolis."* 
Material of We know not whether the fact now mentioned will 
the statue, receive any explanation from the circumstance that the 
material of which the statues are composed is a quartzy 
sandstone, highly crystallized, and containing a con- 
siderable portion of iron. When struck it gives a me- 
tallic ring, — the kind of sound which used to be attri- 
Arab tradi- ^uted to the Memnon. It is singular, at all events, that 
tion. the belief of its former vocality stUl lingers in the tra- 

dition of the country, for the Arabs contraue to call it 
Salamat, or the statue that bids good morning.t 
Remains of It is evident that these statues stand on either side of 
other figures, ^n avenue leading to a place of worship, and that they 
were followed by a series of other colossal figures, the 
remains of some of which are still visible. The temple, 
whose approach they were appointed to guard, was un- 
covered by Mr Salt, who at the same time brought to 
light a number of sphinxes, with the hon's head on 
the body of a woman, and, in short, traced the foun- 
dation and columns of a most magnificent building. Bel- 
zoni, in like manner, disinterred a handsome statue of 

• Richardson's Travels, vol. ii. p. 41. — " Norden and Pococke, 
we believe, were the first who copied any of the inscriptions on the 
Memnon's legs, of which Pococke has given two plates. Mr Ha- 
milton, in his iEgyptiaca, has also given those inscriptions which 
are the most legible ; and since that time Mr Salt, the late consul 
at Alexandria, has made a still more complete collection. His 
copies of these inscriptions, to the number of seventy-two, were 
transmitted to the Royal Society of Literatm-e. 

Imp. Domitiano 
Caesare Augusto Germanico 
T. Petronius Secundus. Pr 
Audit Memnoijem Horai pr Id us Mart. 

" This inscription records the testimony of T. Petronius, in the 
eign of Domitian. to the vocal sound that issued from the northern- 
most of the two statues at sunrise." — British Museum, vol. i. p. 262 
■f Idem, p. 43. 


black granite, which is now within the precincts of the chap. vr. 
British IMuseuni, — affording additional evidence that the statuTin the 
Memnon had belonged to an establishment not inferior, Biitisii 
perhaps, even to the sublime structures of Luxor and 
Kamac. On this ground we are disposed to adopt the 
opinion of the writer whom we have just quoted, who 
thinks that the mined temple now mentioned ought to 
be regarded as the proper Memnonium, and not the 
edifice which contains the statue of Osymandias.* 

The neighbourhood of Thebes presents another sub- Necropolis of 
ject worthy of attention, and quite characteristic of an Thebea. 
Egyptian capital, — the Necropolb', or City of the Dead. 
Proceeding on the idea that the human being only so- 
journs for a time in the land of the living, but that the 
tomb is his permanent dwelling-place, the inhabitants of 
this magnificent metropolis lavished much of their wealth 
and taste on the decoration of their sepulchres. The 
mountains on the western side of Thebes have been Rock tomba 
nearly hollowed out in order to supply tombs for the 
inhabitants ; while an adjoining valley, remarkable for 
its solitary and gloomy aspect, appears to have been 
selected by persons of rank as the receptacle of their 
mortal remains. The darkest recesses of these pits and 
chambers have been repeatedly explored by travellers 
in search of such antiquities as might illustrate the 
ancient manners of the people, as well as by those mer- 
cenary dealers in mummies, who make a trade of huma'n 
bones, coffins, and funeral lining. 

To give an idea of the magnificence lavished by the Discoverys 
Egj-ptians on their burial-places, it will be enough to ^ ""' 
describe the immense vaults discovered by Belzoni, who, 
in excavating for curiosities, possessed a tact or instinct 
similar to that which leads the mineral engineer to the 
richest veins of the precious metals. He fixed upon a 
spot at the bottom of a precipice, over which, when 
there happens to be rain in the desert, a torrent rushes 

* The statue disinterred by Mr Belzoni is that numbered 38 in 
the Catalogue «t the British Museum. 

ot BelzonL 





CHAP. vt. with great fury ; and, after no small degree of labour, 
he reached the entrance of a large and very splendid 
tomb. This hall, which is extremely beautiful, is 
twenty-seven feet long and twenty-five broad ; the roof 
being supported by pillars fully four feet square. At 
the end of it is a large door which opens into another 
chamber twenty-eight feet by twenty-five, having the 
walls covered with figures, wbich, though only draAvn 
in outline, are so perfect that one would think they had 
been done only the day before. Returning into the 
entrance-hall, he observed a large staircase descending 
into a passage. It is thirteen feet long, seven and a half 
in width, and has eighteen steps, leading at the bottom 
to a beautiful corridor of large dimensions. He remark- 
ed that the paintings became more perfect the farther 
he advanced into the interior, retaining their gloss or a 
kind of varnish laid over the colours, which had a beau- 
tiful effect, being usually executed on a white ground. 
At the end of this splendid passage he descended by ten 
steps into another equally superb ; from which he entered 
into an apartment twenty-four feet by thirteen, and so 
elegantly adorned with sculptures and paintings that he 
called it the Room of Beauty. When standing in the 
centre of this chamber, the traveller is surrounded by 
an assembly of Egyptian gods and goddesses, — the lead- 
ing personages of the Pantheon, — whose presence was 
thought to honour, or perhaps to protect, the remains of 
the mighty dead. 

Proceeding farther he entered a large hall twentj-- 
eight feet long, and twenty-seven broad ; in which are 
two rows of square pillars, three on each side of the 
entrance, forming a line with the corridors. At either 
side of this apartment, which he tenned the Hall of 
Pillars, is a small chamber ; the one on the right is ten 
feet by nine ; that on the left ten feet five inches by 
eight feet nine inches. The former of these, h.'^ving in 
it the figure of a cow painted, he called the Room of 
Isis ; the latter, from the various emblematical drawings 
which it exhibits, was denominated the Room of Mys- 

Uoom of 


Hall of 


teries. At the end of the hall is the entry to a large chap. vt. 
saloon with an arched roof or ceiling, and extending jjoom of 
thirty-two feet in length by a breadth of twenty-seven, mysteries. 
On the right of the saloon is a small chamber without 
any thing in it, roughly cut as if unfinished, and desti- 
tute of painting ; on the left is an apartment with two 
square pillars, twenty-five feet eight inches by twenty- 
two feet ten inches. These columns are three feet four 
inches square, and beautifully painted like the rest. At 
the same end of the room, and facing the Hall of Pillars, Room of 
he found another chamber forty-three feet long by seven- "^P'*' 
teen feet six inches broad, and adorned with a variety of 
columns. It is covered with white plaster where the 
rock did not cut smoothly, but there is no painting in 
it ; and as Mr Belzoni discovered in it the carcass of a 
bull embalmed with asphaltum, he distinguished it by 
the appellation of the Room of Apis. There were also Mummy 
seen, scattered in various places, an immense number of ^^^^'*- 
small wooden figures of mummies six or eight inches 
long, and covered with mineral oil to preserve them. 
There were some other figures of fine earth baked, 
coloured blue, and strongly varnished ; while on each 
side of the two little rooms were wooden statues stand- 
ing erect, with a circular hollow inside, as if to contain 
a roll of papyrus. 

" But," says he, " the description of what we found Alabaster 
in the centre of the saloon, and which I have reserved sarcopiiapii 
till this place, merits the most particular attention, not 
having its equal in the world, and being such as we had 
no idea could exist. It is a sarcophagus of the finest 
oriental alabaster, nine feet five inches long, and three 
feet seven inches wide. The thickness is only two 
inches ; and it is transparent when a light is placed in 
the inside of it. It is minutely sculptured within and 
without with several hundred figures, which do not ex- 
ceed two inches in height, and represent, as I suppose, 
the whole of the funeral procession and ceremonies re- 
lating to the deceased. I cannot give an adequate idea 
of this beautiful and invaluable piece of antiquity, and 


CHAP. VI. can only say that nothing has been brought into Europe 
from Egypt that can be compared with it. The cover 
was not there ; it had been taken out and broken into 
several pieces, which we found in digging before the 
first entrance."* 
Concealed The sarcophagus was placed over a staircase in the 
staircase. centre of the saloon, communicating with a subterraneous 
passage three hundred feet in length, which seemed to 
proceed through the very heart of the mountain. Hence, 
there is reason to believe that there must originally have 
been two entrances to the tomb, one of which was closed 
at the time Avhen the sarcophagus was lodged in it ; for 
not only was this communication obstructed by means 
of a wall, but several large stones were inserted in the 
pavement of the saloon, to prevent any one from per- 
ceiving either the stair or the passage to Avhich it leads. 
Pains taken l^n short, great pains had been taken to conceal the 
th '^'entrance '^^^ii^ber in which the royal corpse was deposited. The 
staircase of the entrance-hall was built up at the bottom, 
and the intervening space filled with rubbish ; while 
the floor was covered with large blocks of stone, so as to 
deceive such individuals as might happen to force a 
passage through the wall, and make them suppose that 
th.e tomb ended at the second apartment. The persons 
who had been previously in the sepulchre, and destroyed 
Former *^^ cover of the sarcophagus, must have possessed a coni- 

entrants. plete acquaintance with the plan and stnictui-e of that 
mysterious palace ; for, at their departure, they had used 
such precautions against a second discovery, that no 
degree of sagacity less than the share which had fallen 
to Belzoni could have defeated their object. 
Pictorial '^^^^ walls of nearly all tlie apartments are decorated 

decorations, with superb paintings and sculptures which we cannot 
undertake to describe at length. But, for a reason which 

• Belzoni's Narrative of Operations, &c. vol. i. p. 365. Dr Clarice 
pronounced the stone of which the sarcophagus is composed to be 
of a rare and much more valuable species than alabaster. A model 
of this splendid tomb was afterwards exhibited in London contain. 
ing the real sarcophagus. 


will immediately appear, we must not pass over one chap, vl 
wherein is represented a military procession, consisting jniitary 
of a great number of figures all looking towards a man procession. 
who is much superior to them in size. At the close of 
this pageant are three different sorts of people, from as 
many nations, evidently Jews, Ethiopians, and Persians. 
Behind them are some Egyptians without their orna- 
ments, as if they were captives rescued and returning to 
their ovra country, followed by a hawk-headed figure, 
supposed to be their protecting deity. 

By the application of his principle for explaining interesting 
phonetic hieroglyphics, Dr Young discovered among the DTYomg.'' 
drawings, copied from this tomb, the names of Necho 
and Psammis, kings of Egypt, who reigned towards the 
end of the seventh century before the Christian era. 
Now, it is universally known that Pharaoh I^echo con- 
quered Jemsalem and Babylon, and that his son Psam- 
mis or Psammuthis, as he is sometimes called, made war 
against the Ethiopians. Hence, we are provided with 
the means of understanding the object as well as the 
constituent parts of the procession described by Belzoni. 
The natives of three different countries are distinctlj^ Jewish 
recognised. The Jews are readily distinguished by their captives. 
physiognomy and complexion ; the Ethiopians by their 
colour and ornaments ; and the Persians by their cha- 
racteristic dress, as they are so often seen engaged in 
battle with the Egyptians.* 

There cannot, therefore, be any doubt as to the age of j^^tg gf ,ijc 
this splendid monument of Egyptian art ; for the two tomu. 
Pharaolis whom it commemorates, and by the latter of 
whom it was probably erected, swayed the sceptre nearly 
two thousand five hundred years ago. What were the 
Greeks and Romans at that period \ They were barba- 
rians in the strictest sense of the word, or only begin- 
ning to emerge from the rudest condition in which 
mankind are found to cultivate the relations of social 

* Dr Richardson, vol. i. p. 281, differs from Belzoni as to the 
figures in the procession, but without any attempt to oppose the ex- 
planation of Dr Young, or to call in question theantiquity of the tomb. 








01 Ororno-j. 

Harp Tomb. 

copies of the 

life. Many of the sepulchral chambers of Thebes are 
much older than that of Psammis, reaching back to the 
epoch when that capital was 

" The world's great empress on the Egyptian pla'in, 
That spread her conquest o'er a thousand states, 
And pour'd her heroes through a hundred gates ; 
Two hundred horsemen and two hundred cars 
From each wide portal issued to the wars." Pope. 

Every traveller, from Bruce down to the latest tourist 
who has trodden in his steps, luxuriates in the descrip- 
tion of Gornoo with its excavated mountains, and dwells 
with minute anxiety on the ornaments which at once 
decorate the superb mausoleums of the Beban el Melouk, 
and record the early progress of Egyptian science. It is 
lamentable, however, to find that, in the great work 
published under the auspices of the French government, 
the representations, in point of colouring at least, are 
extremely inaccurate. In the Harp Tomb, for example, 
the drawings of which were very accurately copied by 
the historian of Abyssinia and his secretary Balugani, 
there is a priest performing, who is dressed in a long 
wliite robe spotted or striped with red. The French 
artists have arrayed him in a flowing mantle of the 
deepest black with white stripes. The gentleman, too, 
who is seated on a chair at a little distance listening to 
the music, and habited in a short loose garment falling 
about half-way down the thighs, the rest of the limbs 
and arms being bare, the Savans have attu-ed in a pair of 
blue pantaloons after the Parisian fashion, and in a waist- 
coat of the same colour. The head-dress, moreover, 
which in the original reaches up to the ceiling, they have 
curtailed into a small bonnet, bearing a striking resem- 
blance to the cap of liberty. In this way they have 
given to the group a sort of general resemblance, while 
in the detail the representation is as unlike as possible. 
They have made that blue which should be red, black 
which should be white, yellow which should be green, 
and short which should be long.* 

• Richardson vol. n. p. 4. 


The names of JoUois and Devilliers are affixed to the chap, vi 
large prmts of the tomb just mentioned, as vouchers for AutiiorTof 
their accuracy ; but there is too much reason to suspect f'e drawinga 
that the labour of colouring the engravings, like the task 
of writing the dissertations on the antiquities of Egypt, 
was left to the ingenuity of artists at Paris, who had no 
other guide than an indistinct description. As a farther 
proof of this, we may mention that the paintuig in the other inaccu- 
ruins of the Memnonium, which represents the storming racies. 
of a fort, was copied by Major Hayes, as well as by the 
French academicians, and that the men, who have a sort 
of petticoat drapery in the one, are naked in the other ; 
our neighbours preferring what appeared to them the 
more picturesque representation, without paying any 
regard to the truth of monuments.* * 

When examining the tomb discovered by Belzoni, a Impressions 
subsequent traveller, after observing that the colours are °he Belzoni 
remarkably vivid, and that the painting has not suffered tomb. 
either from time or human violence, adds, " It is im- 
possible adequately to describe the sensations of delight 
and astonishment which by turns took possession of our 
minds as we moved along the corridor, and examined the 
different groups and hieroglyphics that occur in every 
successive chamber. We had been told that what we 
saw was a tomb ; but it requu-ed a constant effort of the 
mmd to convince us that it was such. Only one sarco- Number anj 
phagus in one chamber, and twelve chambers, exclusive chambers. 
of the long corridor, all highly ornamented, for nothing ! 
It may have been a subterraneous temple, exhibiting 
the religious creed of the worshippers, or the rites of 
initiation. It may have been a subterranean palace, like 

• Dr Richardson, vol. ii. p. 5, remarks, that after so many mis- 
representations in the work of the Wise-men, — the French Savans, 
— it will not be difficult to decide whose names should precede the 
verb, in the very courtly inscription, " Bruce est un menteur ;" and 
whether we might not with some degree of propriety address them, 
("."nsidered as a single body, in the words of the Roman bard, 

" ISlutato nomine, de te 
F;ihula narratur " 







operations of 


Arab spoilers. 


those of the king of the Troglodytes. But never was 
there such a superfluous waste, if we are to suppose that 
all this was done merely for the reception of one sarco- 
phagus." Perhaps, like the chambers of imagery seen 
by the Jewish prophet, they were the scene of idolatrous 
rites performed in the dark, — an opinion which has 
received the countenance of Mr Jowett, who says that 
the tombs of the Beban el Melouk cannot be better 
described than in the words of Ezekiel : " Then said he 
unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall : and, when 
I had digged in the wall, behold a door. And he said 
unto me. Go in, and behold the wicked abominations 
that they do there. So I went in and saw^ ; and, be- 
hold, every form of creeping things, and abominable 
beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed 
upon the wall round about." In this, as in some other 
cases, the Hebrews w^ere but imitators ; the originals 
were in Egypt, and are still to be seen in almost all the 
sepulchres or temples under ground.* 

We cannot leave these ancient tombs without express- 
ing our regret that the rage for discovery in the mansions 
of the dead should have led to consequences so little 
creditable to European delicacy. The mummies have 
been drawn from their recesses with a rapacious and 
unsparing hand. The chief part of tliis havock, no doubt, 
has been committed by the Arabs, who tear the bodies 
open to get at the rosin, or asphaltum, used in the em- 
balming, which they sell at Cairo to great advantage ; 
but travellers and their agents have also had their share 
in this sacrilege, as it may be justly called. It is, we 
are infoi-med, a sad and disgusting sight ; the sands 
and the edges of the graves in some parts being strewed 
with bones, and even pieces of flesh thrown wantonly 
about. The poor Egyptians, who had slept in peace 
some thousands of years, have been mercilessly dealt 
with here, and the remains of warriors, citizens, and 
sages, now lie mingled together beneath the burning sun ; 

* Ricliarilson, vol. ii. p. 78. Jowett's Christian Researches. 


for no retreat or sanctuary has been suffered to remain chap. vi. 

Sir F. Henniker made a similar complaint. He tells Sir f. Henni 
us that the plain is strewed with broken bones, and that markl^ 
the coffins are used for firewood. The trouble that the 
Egyptians took to preserve their bodies causes their 
destruction, and " the race of Nilus barters for their 
kings." I was standing by, he adds, when the resur- 
rection-men found a sepulchre ; " they offered me the 
haul, unopened, for four guineas." It proved to be 
Grecian-Egyptian, the first of its kind hitherto discover- Greco-E^- 
ed ; including three chambers, with fourteen coffins, in "'^" ^°^°' 
each of which was placed a bunch of sycamore branches, 
which fell to atoms at the touch. The whole of the 
ancient Thebes is the private property of the French 
and English consuls ; a line of demarcation is drawn 
through every temple, and these buildings, which have 
hitherto withstood the attacks of barbarians, will not 
long resist the speculation of civUized cupidity, directed 
by philosophers and antiquaries.t 

Ascending the Nile, the traveller finds that the valley HiRherpavti 

wliich had contracted above Thebes to very narrow ofti"i^''ie 

** vulley, 

limits, begins once more to widen, and the adjoining 

hills to retire. In a recess, about a mile from the river, 
stands the village of Herment, on the ruins of a city to 
which the Greeks gave the name of Hermonthis. A HermomLia 
temple of moderate dimensions, but peculiar in its plan, 
and distinguished only by the beauty of its columns and 
sculptures, is stQl remainuig. There is no trace of a 
propylon ; but the walls of the pronaos -are standing, 
though in many places much dilapidated. The cella is 
pretty entire, and covered with sculptures and hiero- 
glyphics ; for a description of which we must refer the 
reader to the authentic pages of Travels along the Me- 
diterranean. We are assured that these works are well 
executed, and indicate a more ancient date than most of 

* Letters from the East, vol. i. p. 157. 

t Notes during a Visit to Egypt, &c. p. 137. 




Traces of 
older works. 

Its portico. 

Devices on 
the ceiling 

Remains of 
other build- 

Grottos of 

tlie temples in Egypt ; and yet as stones ornamented are 
found here placed in an inverted position, there is ground 
for a reasonable conjecture that they had been brought 
from the ruins of edifices stUl older than the one in 
which they are now incorporated. 

Esneh, the ancient Latopolis, is the next place which 
invites the attention of the scientific tourist. It is 
worthy of notice chiefly on account of a temple, the 
portico of which has been pronounced by Denon to be 
the purest fragment of Egyptian architecture, and one 
of the most perfect monuments of antiquity. It consists 
of eight columns with broad capitals, differing from each 
other in the ornament that they bear ; in one it is the 
vine, in another the ivy, in a third the palm-leaf. The 
parts behind the portico are trivial and negligent so far 
as their decorations are concerned. The sanctuary is 
totally destroyed ; but, from what remains of the outer 
wall, there seems to have been an exterior gallery quite 
round the temple. The pronaos has still twenty-four 
columns, six rows with four in each. Various devices, 
resembling those at Dendera, appear on the ceiling be- 
tween the columns ; and m the space wliich separates the 
last row from the wall on each side, are represented the 
twelve signs of the zodiac, or perhaps certaiu astrological 
emblems denoting the influence of the heavenly bodies. 
The vicinity of Esneh, on both sides of the river, ex- 
hibits the remains of many buildings of which the liistory 
and the object have been long concealed in that darkness 
which still hangs over the former condition of Upper 
Egypt. Vestiges of primeval paganism can be detected, 
mingled with the more recent institutions of Christi- 
anity, but both now so much defaced by the ravages of 
civil war that the most diligent research fails to be re- 
warded with any adequate degree of success. 

The grottos of Eleithias, a town somewhat farther 
south and on the eastern side of the NUe, are extremely 
interesting, inasmuch as they represent, in the paintings 
with which the walls are decorated, many of the pur- 
suits and habits that illustrate the private life of the 


ancient Egyptians. In this respect they are more im- chap. vi. 
portant than even the splendid sepulchres of Thebes ; the . 

ornaments in the latter being confined to the higher their decorn- 
ceremonies of religion, or to the shadowing forth of those ''°°^' 
pliysical mysteries to which their pious rites are sup- 
posed to have had an immediate reference. 

The great French work, and the less pretending pubiisiied 
volume of Mr Hamilton, supply a very particular de- description. 
scription of the works of art at Eleithias. In the largest 
of the grottos visited by our countryman, there are three 
statues the size of life, representing a wealthy rustic with 
his two wives. One side of the wall is occupied with 
the picture of a feast, at which the master and mistress ^ fp^^^^ 
are seated together on a chair, richly dressed, — a fa- 
vourite monkey at their feet is regaling itself on a basket 
of grapes. A servant, part of Avhose livery is the skin of 
a leopard, appears to introduce the guests, who are sit- 
ting in rows, both men and women, each with a lotus in 
the hand. To some of these the attendants are present- 
ing bowls and dishes, according to the usage which still 
prevails in many parts of the East. Behind the visiters 
are tables covered with sundry kinds of food ; while the 
banquet is enlivened by the presence of musicians and jiusicians 
dancers. One woman is playing on a harjj ; another on ""'' dai.cei & 
a double flute ; three others are dancing in the style of 
those females known at Cairo under the name of Almeh ; 
and a small figure, apart, is performing similar motions 
with a sword in each hand. The master is then repre- 
sented walking, attended by his servants, who, among 
other things, are carrying a chair, a water-jar, and a 
mat, to visit his labourers at work : And accordingly the Agricultural 
artist has here depicted the mode of hoeing, ploughing, operi^'i'iis- 
sowing, and rolling ; of reaping the corn, and gathering 
it in ; of winnowing the grain, and the carriage of it to 
the granary ; and, finally, the embarkation of bread or 
biscuit on board the djemis. The farm-yara is next 
seen crowded with oxen, cows, sheep, goats, asses, mules, 
and other animals. Again, we sec the vintage and the Vintage, 
method of making wine ; after which, the mode of catch- 


CHAP. VL ing and salting fish and water-fowl. Finally, fruits are 
presented to the master and his friends, and the whole 
concludes with offerings of gratitude to the gods. 

Rax harvest In another part of the scene is the flax-harvest. Tho 
whole process of pulling the crop up by the roots, of 
carrying it away in small bundles and combing it, is 
very ingeniously represented. It may be observed that 
the complexion of the men is invariably red, that of the 
women yellow ; but neither of them can be said to have 
any tiling in their phj'siognomy at all resembling the 
negro countenance. The labourers are dressed in a sort 
of skullcap, and in short close drawers, having very 
little hair on their heads ; while the locks of the others 
who appear to superintend them spread out at the sides, 
after the fashion of the Nubians and Berber! above the 

Ship building Next follow representations of ship-buUding and sail- 

and sailing, -^g^ ^^j^j^ ^y[ the machinery wliich belonged to their 
simple navigation. Nor are the amusements of the 
fowler forgotten, which seem to have consisted in the 
use of a net and a variety of other snares. The bow and 
arrow appear to have been also employed. The scene, 
after embracing a great number of occupations or pas- 

Faneral pro- times, to which we cannot make a more particular allu- 

cessioa gj^j^^ closes with a funeral procession, into which all the 

pageantry and magnificence of Egyptian ceremonial are 
introduced, accompanied with the several emblems wliich 
were employed of old to denote the duties of this life 
and the hopes of the next.* 

Edfou. Leaving the instructive grottos of Eleithias, we pro- 

ceed to Edfou, the ApoUinopolis Magna of the Greeks, 
which presents several architectural remains worthy of 
notice. There are two temples in a state of great pre- 

Fw-o temples, servation ; one of them consisting of high pyramidal 
propyla, a pronaos, portico, and sekos, the form most 
generally used in Egypt ; the other is peripteral, and is 
at the same time distinguished by ha\'ing, on its several 

* Egjptiaca, p. 92 


columns, the appalling figure of Typhon, the emblem of chap. XL 
the Evil Principle. 

The pyramidal propylon, which forms the principal ^''^ piopy- 
entrance to the greater temple, is one of the most im- 
posing monuments now existing of Eg^'ptian architec- 
ture. Each of the sides is a hundred feet in length, 
thirty wide, and a hundred high. ]Many of the figures 
sculptured on it are tliu-ty feet in height, and are exe- 
cuted in so masterly and spirited a style as to add con- 
siderably to the grand eflfect of the building. In each 
division there is a staircase of 150 or 160 steps, which 
conduct the visiter into spacious apartments at diflferent 
elevations. The horizontal sections of each wing dimi- 
nish gradually from 100 feet by 30, to 83 by 20, as 
will appear to the eye from the accompanying plate ; 
although the solidity and height of the propylon give it 
more the aspect of a fortress or place of defence than of 
the approach to a religious edifice. As an explanation Origin of 
of this peculiarity, we are told that the addition of these ^^°^^' ^' 
gateways to a temple was permitted as a favour to such 
of the ancient kings of Egj'pt as, for theii* pious and 
beneficent actions, became entitled to perpetuate their 
names m the mansions of their gods. The Ptolemies, 
who claimed the right of sovereignty from conquest, in- 
" dulged in the same magnificence, and built porticos, 
propyla, and even temples. Cleopatra, in her misfor- cieopah-a's 
tunes, is said to have removed with the most valuable 
part of her property to an edifice of a very extraordinary 
size and structure, which siie had formerly erected near 
the fane of Isis. Most probablj', as jNIr Hamilton thinks, 
it was a propylon of the kind just described. Nothing its probable 
could be better adapted for her purpose ; inasmuch as '^ ^^'^ ^ 
the variety of apartments ofi'ered every convenience that 
could be desired, and when the small door at the bottom 
of the staircase was closed, it was perfectly inaccessible. 

In no part of Eorvpt are more colossal sculptures seen Colossal 

.1 11 c 11- 1 •! 1. 1 11 Bculptures at 

on the walls oi a public building than on the larger Edfon. 
temple at Edfou. These, we are told, are extremely 
well executed, and in some cases the colours are still 





tlon of rub- 

Qiinnies at 




Temple of 



completely unchanged. Priests are seen paying divine 
honours to the Scarabaeus, or beetle, placed upon an 
altar, — an insect which is said to liave been typical of 
the sun, either because it changes its appearance and 
place of abode every six months, or because it is won- 
derfully productive.* We regret to find that both the 
temples, though well preserved, are almost concealed 
among heaps of dirt and rubbish ; indeed the terrace of 
the larger one is occupied by several mud cottages be- 
longing to the villagers, and the interior chambers of the 
sekos are indiscriminately used as sinks, granaries, or 

Hadjur Silsili would not detain the traveller in his 
progress up the Nile, were it not for the immense quar- 
ries from which, it is very probable, were hewn at 
different times those remarkable columns, statues, 
and obelisks, which lend to Thebes, Dendera, and Her- 
monthis, their chief attraction even at the present day. 
Sphinxes, monolithic temples, and other monuments of 
architectural ingenuity, in an iinfinished state, are still 
found near the rocks out of which they were cut. There 
is a large mass of stone, eighteen feet in every direction, 
supported only by a pillar of Avhite earth three feet in 
diameter, — serving as an example of that peculiar vanity 
which has been attributed to the Egyptians, and which 
made them attract the admiration of posterity by works 
of the boldest design, and requiring the application of the 
most extraordinary mechanical powers. 

Koum Ombos, supposed to represent the ancient ca- 
pital of the Ombite Nome, attracts notice by the remains 
of a magnificent temple. The facade consists of a por- 
tico of fifteen columns, five in front and three deep, 
tliirteen of which are still standing. The ornaments 
above the entrances are rich and very highly finished. 
Towards the north-western angle of the enclosure is a 
small temple of Isis, the capitals of which are square, 
and have on each of the four sides the countenance of 

• Egyptiaca, p. 88. Denon, vol. ii. p. 184. 


the goddess beautifully carved. The sculptures on the ch^^j. yr 
walls are very numerous, and even now, at the end of — 
two thousand years, preserve the brilliancy of their first 

Es Souan, a town of which the origin is comparatively es Souan. 
modern, stands near the site formerly occupied by the 
ancient Syene. The decline of commercial intercourse 
between Egypt and Ethiopia has gradually reduced this 
place to the condition of a poor vUlage, subsisting on the 
scanty portion of cultivable land that is shut in between 
the river and the rocks of the desert. On the acclivity of gj^^jj 
an adjoining hill is a temple of small dimensions, and 
diiFering somewhat in form from similar monuments 
in that country ; but being buried in rubbish up to 
the capitals of the columns and the architrave, it has 
not been minutely examined b}^ recent travellers. Po- 
cocke imagined it to be the once celebrated observatory 
of Syene, although no pains were taken to ascertain its 
precise structure or object. The position of the famous -^-gu ^^ 
well remains equally unknown. In fact, thei'e is no Syene. 
agreement among observers as to the northern limit of 
the torrid zone, the place where the d isc of the sun was 
reflected from the surface of the water on the day of the 
summer solstice. The calculations of Bruce led him to 
believe that Es Souan is situated in latitude 23° 28' ; 
whereas ]M. Nouet, a French astronomer, asserts that its 
true parallel is in 24° 8' 6". But it ought to be kept in 
mind that Syene stood a little farther towards the south 
than the town Avhich now represents it ; while it is not 
improbable that the point Avhich marked the return of 
the solar oib, in liis annual course, may have been fixed 
at the remotest extremity of the ancient city. 

The quarries have been long celebrated, and sufficient cg^gi^^jt,. „f 
vestiges of them still remain to render it credible that tiie quanits 
they furnished the chief materials for the colossal mo- 
numents of Egypt. They are seen at the foot of the 
mountains on the east, and some of them are close to 

* It vpas dedicated in the reign of King Ptolemy and Queen 
Cleopatra, liis sister. — See Hnmilton's Egyptiaca, p. 76. 



Island of 


regarding its 

Opinion of 


the river. The marks of the chisel and drUIs are dis- 
tinctly visible, as well as of the powerful wedges with 
which, when the sides were cleared, the blocks were 
started from their bed. In one quarry there was found 
a half-finished obelisk between 70 and 80 feet long, and 
10 feet broad. In others were columns in a rough state, 
possessing similar dimensions ; wliile along the breast of 
the hill were observed the marks of immense blocks, 
thirty and forty feet in length, which had been sepa- 
rated from the rock. 

The island of Elephantine is much richer in architec- 
tural remains than the town we have just described. 
Romans and Saracens, it is true, have done all in their 
power to deface or to conceal them ; but, as M. Denon 
remarks, the Egyptian monuments continue devoted to 
posterity, and have resisted equally the ravages of man 
and of time. In the midst of a vast field of bricks, and 
other pieces of baked earth, a very ancient temple is 
still left standing, surrounded with a pilastered gallery. 
Nothing, we are informed, is wanting but two pilasters 
on the left angle of this ruin. Other edifices, it is ob- 
vious, had been attached to it at a later period, but only 
some fragments are remaining, which can give no idea 
of their form when perfect, — proving only that these 
accessory parts were much larger than the original 
sanctuai'y. Could this be the temple of Cueph, the 
good genius, he who of aU the indigenous gods ap- 
proaches the nearest to our ideas of the Supreme Being ? 
Or is it the temple of this deity which is placed six 
hundred paces farther to the north, having the same 
form and size, though more in niins, — all the ornaments 
of which are accompanied by the serpent, the emblem of 
wisdom and eternit}', and peculiarly that of the god now 
named 1 Judging from what he had seen of their va- 
rious temples, Denon is disposed to think that this sup- 
posed fane of Cneph belongs to the class which were 
used in the earliest times, and is absolutely the same 
species of building as the temple at Gornoo, which ap- 
peared to him the most ancient in Thebes. The chief 


difference in the sculpture of the one at Elephanthie is, chap. vi. 
that the figures have more life, the draper}^ is more ~ 
flowing, and falls into a better form of composition.* 

The small island of Philoe, which marks the extreme i^emains of 
boundary of Upper Egj^t, presents likewise some fine p)iiioe! 
specimens of ancient architecture. The first object that 
attracts the eye are the remains of a beautiful colonnade, 
having five massy columns on the one side and four on 
the other. Its magnificent appearance gives an air of 
elegance to the whole. At a little distance there is a 
side entrance, built of stones of vast thickness, and co- 
vered both inside and out with decorated hieroglyphs, 
the colours of which still retain theu- original bright- 
ness. Through this there is a passage into a long avenue, 
having somewhat the appearance of a quadrangular 
court. On the right hand is the propylou of a noble Propyion. 
and majestic temple ; and on the left is another splendid 
colonnade extending to the bank of the river. There 
are thirty-six columns m a straight line, though the 
opposite row is dimmished to sixteen. The visiter next 
enters a small handsome square, having a colonnade on 
each side ; wliich, supporting a roof, appear to have 
formed a delightful piazza, the walls of which were 
covered with hieroglyphical sculpture. On the left sincuiar 
between the pillars is a figure playing on a musical in- sculptures. 
strument like a harp, with ten strings ; and at the end 
of the passage on the right is a dog liolding a dagger in 
his paw, having a tail resembling a snake's head, and > 

surmounted by the lotus-flower, which grows in the 
back-ground. Passing through a massive doorwa}^ the 
stranger finds himself in an apartment, where are ten 
noble pillars, measuring fourteen feet round, covered 
with rich carvings, and pamtcd, more especially the ca- 
pitals, in the most vivid colours. The ceiling is of an Decoration of 
exceedingly bright blue, sprinkled with brilliant stars. *'"^ ccUing. 
Doors are seen on either side, leading into small cham- 
bers, which have obviously been adorned with laboured 

• Denon, vol. ii. p. 32. 



of the sculp- 

CHAP. VI. hieroglyphs, thougli the greater part of them are now 
very much defaced. ]Much pains had been taken to 
obhterate the faces of the various figures, though the 
success of tlie iconoclast has not been complete ; for where 
the hammer or chisel was used for this purpose, the 
place is only rendered more conspicuous, and the outline 
may still be traced. In some of the rooms the process 
Concealment of concealment seems to have been accomplished by 
of paintings, mgans of a kuid of plaster coated on the walls. When 
tills Avas removed numerous inscriptions and drawings 
were detected, the most of which were hi a good state of 
preservation, being principally in blue, red, and yellow. 
It has been observed by several tourists that the figures 
in the great chamber have on them the sign of the cross, 
an emblem of the Christian faith, which was also found 
on the large entrance doorway. From other sources it 
is well known that this magnificent structure was at one 
period used as a Greek church.* 

The fascination attending this review of the monu- 
ments of ancient art has perhaps carried us somewhat 
farther than is quite consistent with our plan, which 

of the niona- 

* Excursions in the Holy Land, &c., vol. i. p. 368. Mr Mados 

observed the following inscription on a stone in the entrance-way ! 

L'an 6 de la Ri'publique, 

le 1.3 Rlessidor, 

Une armee fran9aise commandee par Bonaparte 

Est descendue a Alexandrie. 

L'armue ayant mis, vingt jours apres, 

Les Mamelouks en fuite 

Aux Pyramides, 

Dessaix commandant la premiere division, 

Les a poursuivisau-delades Cataractes 

Oil il est arrive le 13 Ventose de l'an 7. 

Les Generaux de Brigade 

Davoust, Friand, et Belliard. 

D'Onzelot chef de I'etat major, 

Latour prem. comm. de I'Artillerie, 

Eppler chef de la 21'ne Legere, 

Le 13 Ventose, an 7 de la Republiquc, 

3 Mars an de Js. C''- 1799. 

Grave par Castet, Sculpteur. 


compels us to aJjstain from minute details, however chap, vl 
interesting and agreeable. There is no other nation in uneouaiied 
the world, if we except those on the eastern borders of interest of 
Asia, — whose real history has not yet been made knoA^Ti ^^^' 
to the European reader, — which could present such a 
retrospect at the same early period, or gratify the tra- 
veller with the display of so much magnificence and 
beauty. Nor must our opinion of Egyptian science, Egyptian 
art, and general civilisation, be limited to the rigid in- f^^^^ '^^'^ 
ferences which alone an examination of their actual 
remains might appear to justify. On the contrary, we 
are entitled to assume the most liberal principle of rea- 
soning in regard to the acquirements of a people who 
surpassed, to such an extent, all their contemporaries 
westward of the Arabian Desert, and to conclude that 
in other matters, the memorials of which could not be 
conveyed to posterity by the ai'chitect or the sculptor, 
the priests and sovereigns of the Nile had made a cor- 
responding progress. 

For example, we are told that, in the tune of Moses, Evidences 

the land of E^ypt was celebrated for fine linen, — a "LS!*^*' . 
sj I '_ progress i:i 

notice which, to a hasty reader, conveys only that sim- civiiizatioii. 
pie fact, but which, to the philosopher who has reflected 
on the slow and gradual steps by which nations advance 
to maturity, suggests a state of improvement inseparable 
from an established government and the exercise of 
good laws. Our meaning will receive a suitable illus- 
tration from the following passage in the works of Dr Remarks of 
Adam Smith : " The woollen coat which covers the day- smiUi'!'™ 
labourer, coaree and rough as it may appear, is the pro- 
duce of the joint labour of a great number of workmen. 
The shepherd, the sorter of the wool, the wool-comber 
or carder, the dyer, the spinner, the weaver, the fuller, 
the dresser, with many others, must all join their differ- 
ent arts in order to complete even this homely produc- 
tion. What a variety of labour, too, is necessary in 
order to produce the tools of the meanest of those work- 
men ! To say nothing of such complicated machines as 
the ship of the sailor, the mill of tbe fuller, or even the 


CHAP. VL ^oom of the weaver, let us consider only what a variety 
c b^tion ^^ labour is requisite in order to form that very simple 
of labour. machine, the shears with which the shepherd clips the 
wool. The miner, the builder of the furnace for smelt- 
ing the ore, the feller of the timl^er, the burner of the 
charcoal to be made use of in the smelting-house, the 
brickmaker, the bricklayer, the workmen who attend 
the furnace, the mill-wright, the forger, the smith, must 
all of them join their different arts in order to produce 
General them. Were we to examine in the same manner all the 

application of different parts of his dress and household furniture, the 
tlie pnncipli .. ,. ..ii ,.t.i 

coarse Imen shirt whicli he wears next his skin, the 

shoes which cover his feet, the bed which he lies on, 
together with the tools of all tlie different workmen 
employed in producing these different conveniences, we 
should be sensible that, without the assistance and co- 
operation of many thousands, the very meanest person 
in a ci\'ilized country could not be provided, even accord- 
ing to what we veiy falsely imagine the easy and simple 
manner in wliich he is usually accommodated."* 
Reference to Let the reader transfer this reasoning to the " fine 
Esypf- linen" of Egypt, and he will immediately see the con- 

clusions to which we have alluded. ]\Iany arts must 
have arrived at great perfection before the commodity 
mentioned by the Hebrew legislator could have become 
an object of merchandise or of foreign commerce. How 
much skill, too, in the art of tempering metals was ne- 
cessary to jDrepare tools for the workmen who carved 
the hardest granite, and covered with sculptures the 
walls and ceilings of the most ancient temples I Even 
Evidencca of the improvements of modern Europe supply not means 

progrressivo f^j. equalling the ingenious labours of the Eo-vptian ar- 
improve- . ^ ° . ° „ ^ ^•' r*^ "' "' 

ment tists. What a series of efforts must have^ preceded the 

excellence which is preserved for our admiration in the 
temples of Karnac and Luxor, in the tombs of Gornoo, 
and even in the grottos of Eleithias ! How many gene- 
rations must have contributed their share to tliis perfec- 

* Wealth of Nations, vo!. i. p. 17. 


tion ! The contemplative mind seeks refuge in a remoter chap, vl 
antiquity than is allowed by the annals of the neighbour- nemote" 
ing tribes of S\Tia and of Greece ; some of whom, instead antiquities 
of imitating the arts which would at once have secured 
to them the comforts and dignity of social life, derived 
nothing from their intercourse with Egypt except the 
absurd ceremonies of a gross superstition, fitted to degrade 
the understanding while it polluted the heart. 

It was our intention to have entered at some length Extent of the 
into a history of the commercial relations which appear 
to have subsisted at an early period between Egypt and 
the nations of the East, and which were maintained, 
during several centuries, by a regular intercourse as well 
by land as by the Erj^thrtean Sea and the Arabian Gulf. 
But we must content ourselves with a simple reference 
to the learned volumes of Dr Vincent on the Commerce 
and Navigation of the Ancients, and to Dr Robertson's 
Historical Disquisition concerning Ancient India ; where 
is to be found the most authentic information that we 
possess on this important subject, recommended, too, 
by very luminous and satisfactory reasoning. 





Civil History of Modern Egypt. 

Saracenic Dynasties — Foundation of Cairo — Crusaders — Saiadin 
the Great — Siege of Ptolemais — Death of Saiadin — Crusaders 
defeated — Rise of Mamlouks — The Borghites — Jlonguls and 
Tatars — Ibrahim Bey — Ali Bey; His Syrian Campaign; His 
Death and Character — Mohammed Bey — Ibrahim and Wourad — 
invasion by the French — Defeat at Acre — Victory of Lord 
Nelson — Battle of Alexandria and Death of Abercromby — Eva- 
cuation of Egypt by the French — Treacherous Conduct of Has- 
san — Kusrouf Pasha — ]Mohammed Ali ; His Success against the 
Beys ; Is appointed Pasha — British Expedition in 1807 — Jlas- 
sacre of JMamlouks — History of Wahabees ; Defeated by Ibrahim 
Pasha— European Tactics introduced — Quarrel with the Porte — 
Ibrahim invades Syria — His great Success — Battle at Beilan — At 
Horns — He crosses JMount Taurus — Victory at Koniah — M'ar 
in Arabia — Character of Mohammed Ali. 

CHAP. vn. The enterprising spirit breathed into the Saracens b}'' 
theii- military prophet soon made itself felt in the rapid 
conquests which they effected in all the surrounding 
countries. Egypt, as a province of the Roman empire, 
which was already' about to fall in pieces by its owai 
weight, could not resist their arms led by the valiant 
and politic Amru. Aided by treachery, tliis fortunate 
general got possession of Alexandria ; to the inhabitants 
of Avhich he presented the humiliating alternative of 
paying a heavy tribute year after year, or of embracing 
the ]\Iohammedan faith and submitting to its ritual. 
At the same time the valuable hbrary which adorned 
that city fell a prey to the religious bigotry of the con- 
querors, wlio thought that any addition to the knowledge 


Success of 


bequeathed to them by the author of the Koran was chap, vji 
either supei-fluous or positively sinful. 

The frequent contentions which ensued during the *^°"'^"^j?"' 
eighth century for the honours of the caliphate afforded 
to Egypt an opportunity of occasionally asserting its 
independence ; but no sooner was the question of su- 
preme power determined by arms or by treaty than the 
whole country was again compelled to submit to the 
will of tlie victor. Among the various dj'nasties which 
assumed the reins of government were the descendants 
of Ali the son-in-law of the prophet, of Abbas his uncle, 
and of Fatima his daughter, — who continued to urge 
their respective claims during several generations, and 
to expel one another in their turn fi-om the thrones of 
Damascus and of Bagdad. 

The reader could take no interest in the obscure wars Obscure 
and sanguinary revolutions which were directed by the ^Jo"a^.' ® 
powerful families of Aglab, Ommiah, and Ikshed, who medans. 
not only seized the provincial authority along the shores 
of the Mediterranean, but even alarmed the successors 
of Mohammed in Syria and on the banks of the Tigris, 
At length, towards the end of the tenth century, the 
chief of the Fatimite branch removed the seat of his 
power from Cyrene, where it had been long established, Grand Cairo 
to Cahii-a, the city of victory, the Grand Cairo of modern 
times. Other princes had assumed independence in 
Egypt, and refused to acknowledge the temporal su- 
premacy of the Caliph of Bagdad, though the title of 
the latter, in his capacity of Imaum or chief priest of 
the faithful, was regularly recited in the daily prayers 
of the mosque. But the African usurper at length 
interdicted tliis mark of spiritual allegiance, and de- 
manded as his own right all the honours which belong 
to the lineal descendant of the Prophet. 

The eleventh century brought upon Egypt a succes- Famine ani. 
sion of calamities. A dreadful famine, with the usual P«»'''«°';e- 
accompaniments of plague and pestilence, swept off great 
multitudes, especially in the maritime districts and along 
the S}Tian border. This destructive visitation was sue- 


CHAP. VIL ceeded by one hardly less to be deplored, — an inroad of 

T ,^77~t,u ^-he Turks, who had already descended from the exten- 
Inroad of tne . i • c r~i ii-'ia 

Turks. sive plains ot Central Asia and found employment at the 

court of the caliph as mercenary soldiers. They had 
resolved to avenge the cause of their master on liis re- 
bellious subjects ; and with this view they committed 
the most horrid cruelties wherever they could carry their 
arms, setting an example of a savage warfare long un- 
known to the country which they had overrun, and 
thereby rousing against themselves the bitterest resent- 
ment and detestation of the whole body of the people. 
Arrival of the The hosts of the Crusaders arrived to complete the 
crusaders, niigery which the northern barbarians had commenced. 
Having reduced Pelusium these warriors advanced 
against Cairo, which they tlireatened with a similar fate ; 
but, learning that a Syrian amiy was on its march to 
cut off their retreat, they accepted a sum of money and 
raised the siege. 
Aiadid, last Towards the close of the twelfth century the descend- 
of thecaiipiis. jjnts of Fatima ceased to reign over Egj^^t. Aiadid, the 
last of the race, appears to have intrusted the govern- 
ment to the wisdom of his viziers, who, it is manifest, 
laboured both at home and abroad to establish their own 
power rather than that of their master ; and as he had 
no near relations, his death was the signal for his am- 
bitious minister to seat himself in the empty throne. 
Saiadin. This founder of a new dynasty w-as the renowned Saladin, 
whose name is so closely associated with the most bril- 
liant exploits of the Mohammedan arms. He began by 
seizing the wealth and securing the strong places of the 
kingdom, — throwing at the same time into confinement 
all whom he suspected of being the partisans of the late 
monarch. Not inheriting the blood of the Prophet, he 
did not assume the title of caliph, which implies the 
sacerdotal as well as the kingly office, but contented 
himself with the denomination of sultan, leaving the 
priestly duties to be discharged by some individual sprung 
from the sacred lineage. 

Though Saladin was acknowledged sovereign of Egypt 


by many of the neighbouring states, and even received chap, vu 
the sanction of the Cahph of Bagdad, his government Disp^ed 
was not yet firmly established. There were two power- sovereignty 
ful factions opposed to his authority ; the adherents of ^^ ^ ' 
Aladid's fiimily, who wished to retain the sceptre in the Opponents. 
Fatiraite succession, and the King of Syria, who dreaded 
the ascendency of so warlike a neighbour. The former 
favoured the pretensions of an adventurer who claimed 
the throne, and even enabled him to appear in the 
field at the head of 100,000 men. But a complete Complete 
victory soon relieved the new sultan from all apprehen- 
sion in this quarter. The Christians, under the com- 
mand of William, king of Sicily, next engaged his at- 
tention, having laid siege to Alexandria both by land ^'^S^ °{ . 
1 oiTT-<i 1 T f r- ^ 1 Alexandnr.. 

and sea. baladm new to the reliet ot a place, the pre- 
servation of which was so important at once to his repu- 
tation and to the success of his future plans. He had 
mustered a force sufficient to justify the hazard of a 
battle ; but before he could accomplish hLs object, the 
Crusaders, smitten with a sudden panic, commenced a 
hurried retreat, leaving behind them their stores, tlieir 
baggage, and even their military engines. The court of Jealousy of 
Damascus, still cherishhig a feeling of deep-rooted jea- Damascus." 
lousy, endeavoured to strengthen their interests by an 
extended alliance among the surrounding principalities ; 
watching eagerly for an opportunity to check the views 
and disappoint the ambition of the Egyptian sultan. 
At length they resolved to commit their cause to the 
fortune of war. A general engagement ensued, which 
terminated so decidedly in favour of Saladin that he re- 
turned from it the midisputed master of the whole of 

His next cares were directed to the enlargement and Fortification 
fortification of Cairo, which he had determined to render 
a capital worthy of his extensive dominions, and fit to be 
compared with the more ancient cities adorned by Menes, 
Sesostris, and Ptolemy. He encouraged the schools and 
literature of the country, and in many other respects 
showed qualities suited to a time of peace ; but he was 




Conquests of 

His indomi- 
table spirit 

over the 

March on 

of the victor 

soon torn away from his schemes of domestic improve- 
ment to the din of arms and the ravages of war. Havmg 
obtained the ascendency in Syria, he resolved to extend 
his power also into Palestine ; and with this view he 
led his troops against the numerous host of the Cru- 
saders, who had again united their banners for the 
recovery of the Holy Land. His first efforts in the field 
were not attended with success. The Christians, animated 
with an equal courage and long accustomed to the use 
of their weapons, repelled the attacks of the sultan with 
so much fury that he saw his fine army perish before 
his eyes, either in battle or while attempting to retreat 
across the desert into Egypt. 

But his spirit could not be subdued by temporary 
reverses. Aided by commanders who shared his energy 
and ambition, he resumed offensive operations both by 
sea and land ; recovered all the ground he had lost in 
the former campaign ; and finally gained a decisive vic- 
tory over the allied forces led by Lusignan, king of 
Jerusalem, and by Arnold, lord of Karac, both of whom 
were taken prisoners. The former was treated with 
respect, but the latter was put to death by Saladin's 
own hand, because he had inflicted many injuries on the 
followers of the Prophet. Ptolemais, Neapolis, Caesarea, 
and other cities, fell into the power of the Egyptian 
ruler, who, finding nothing to oppose his progress, 
marched to the capital, which he immediately inA'^ested. 
The garrison was numerous, and made a desperate de- 
fence ; but after the conqueror had effected a breach in 
the walls, and was on the pomt of entering the town, 
the governor proposed a capitulation. 

The Sultan, enraged at the delay occasioned by a pro- 
tracted siege, refused to accept the terras ; vowing that 
he would sack and utterly demolish the holy city, 
though almost equally venerated by Mohammedans 
and by Christians. These cruel threatenings roused the 
spirit of the defenders, who announced their resolution 
to put 5000 of his prisoners to death, and, m order 
that no European might be exposed to his revenge, they 


would also deprive of life their own wives and children, chap, vil 
They added that, with the view of disappointing their Desperate 
enemy in the expectation of booty, they would destroy resolution of 
every thing valuable within the walls ; level the rock 
which the disciples of the Koran held sacred ; and then 
sally out in a body on the besiegers, either to purchase 
victory or to sell their lives at the dearest price. The 
knowledge of this resolution moved the besieger to more 
reasonable terms ; and he consented that the garrison, 
as well as the inhabitants of Jerusalem, should have their 
lives spared on the condition of paymg a liberal ransom 
in money. 

The wars which Saladin carried on against the heroes ^'™™*r?' °^ 
of the Crusade do not properly fall within the limits of expeditions. 
this volume, more especially as the scene of conflict was 
chosen in Syria rather than in Egypt. Suffice it to 
mention that, when he had succeeded in establishing his 
authority from Thebes to Damascus, his territories were ^jg's^"'"" 
once more invaded by a Christian armament, conducted 
by the Emperor of Germany, the King of France, and 
the celebrated Richard Cceur de Lion, the sovereign of 
England. The combined forces encamped before Ptole- 
mais, — a stronghold which is better known by its modem 
name of Acre, — in which the sultan had collected a nu- 
merous army, and made preparations for a vigorous 
defence. Want of hannonv among the European power? European 
enabled him to resist their attacks a long time, without 
incurring any serious loss ; and it was not until the ap- 
proach of famine had thinned his ranks, and depressed 
the spirits of the survivors, that he consented to offer 
conditions. Upon the promise of refunding a part of the 

treasure which, at different times, he had extorted from Conditions 
1 11 • 1 11 1 1 -111 imposed on 

the allies, he was allowed to march out with the honours lum. 

of war ; delivering to the victors the possession of a town, 

the siege of wliich had involved the sacrifice of three 

hundred thousand men, including the flower of European 

chivalry and the best warriors of the East. 

After numerous vicissitudes of fortune, in which his 

active valour, aided by the jealousies that distracted 



Death of 

Alcamel, his 

Defeat of the 
crusaders in 



War against 
the annies of 

the counsels of his antagonists, had generally secured to 
him the advantage in the field, he died in the fifty-fifth 
year of his age. His son who succeeded him on the 
throne of EgA'pt appears to have possessed his ambition 
without Ms talents. But Alcamel, to whom the sceptre 
fell about the beginning of the thii-teenth century, 
threw a lustre on his reign by repelling the Crusaders, 
who, for the fifth time, invaded the dominions of the 
Saracens. Damietta had surrendered to the Christians, 
who, elated by the prosperous commencement of the 
campaign, advanced up the Nile, and meditated the en- 
tire conquest of the country. But the issue of a general 
action, which soon afterwards took place, was so dis- 
astrous to the foreigners that they were compelled to 
6ue for mercy, and at length to accept the conditions of 
a treaty much more honourable to the clemency of the 
victors than to the ability of their owti commanders. 

Alcamel having died at Damascus in 1238, Aladel, one 
of his sons, was raised to the throne ; but Nojmoddin, 
the eldest brother, laid claim to the kmgdom. A bloody 
contest would probably have ensued, had not the younger 
prince, in the mean time, disappeared or died, — an event 
which led to the peaceable accession of the senior claim- 
ant. This monarcli, like his predecessor, soon acquired 
great influence with tlie leaders of the Crusade ; for 
Richard, earl of Cornwall, perceiving that the Sultan of 
^gypt possessed more power than the Syrian lords of 
Karac and Damascus, entered into an alhance with him, 
and thereby ensured protection to the pilgrims when on 
their way to the holy sepulchre. 

In this unsettled state of affairs Nojmoddin passed into 
S}Tia, having determined, with the help of some rude 
tribes who occupied the neighbouring desert, to subdue 
the faithless armies of Damascus. A battle, in which 
he found liimself opposed by certain European auxili- 
aries, crowned his enterprise with success, and opened up 
a patli to still more important advantages ; but, in the 
mean time, a new host of adventurers arrived at the port 
of Danuetta, having Louis the Nmth of France for their 


leader. In the absence of the sultan, and while the chap, vit 
nation was altogether unprepared for such an inroad, Louislx. of 
the French king made considerable progress ; several t'^^ce. 
towns fell ; and the inhabitants fled for refuge into the 
upper part of the countiy. The sovereign, who was 
busily engaged in the siege of Emessa, hastened towai'ds 
home to save his people from the horrors of an utter 
conquest ; but, harassed by fatigue and anxiety, he sank 
by the way, leaving the government to his son, an inex- 
perienced 3'outh. The enemy still pushed into the in- Surprise of 
terior, apprehending no serious opposition, when to their ^'^ enemy, 
surprise the}^ found themselves in presence of a formid- 
able army, raised by the exertions of the sultan's widow, 
the famous Shagir Aldor. Louis was defeated and taken 
prisoner ; whilst his followers, after having endured the 
greatest privations, were glad to throw themselves upon 
the compassion of the natives, whose fields they had laid 
waste, and whose houses they had plundered. 

This period is remarkable for the first accession to Accession of 
power of that celebrated class of men called Mamlouks. lo^uks.^™' 
Saladin, who as a usurper put little confidence in the 
native troops of Egypt, placed around his person a guard 
of foreigners, composed of slaves purchased or made 
captives in the provinces which border on the western Origin and 
shores of the Caspian Sea. Successive sultans had in- p°^J-g^'^ 
creased the power of these aiTued attendants by new 
privileges ; and hence, as has always happened in every 
similar case, they acquired at length the entire disposal 
of the sovereign authority. Ibeg, one of their number, 
became regent during the minority of the prince ; and Regency of 
upon the death of that boy he married the queen- "' 
mother, and finally stepped into the throne. Carried off 
by assassination he left the supreme power to his son, 
who only enjoyed it during a very short period ; yet, 
notwithstanding the convulsions which incessantly shook 
the state, and the alarming progress of the Monguls in 
the eastern part of the Mohammedan cmph-e, the ]\Iam- 
louk dynasty directed the afiairs of Egypt not less than 
one hundred and twenty years. 




Tlie BorgU- 

Accession of 



But the inheritance of the Pharaohs was now doomed 
to pass from the hands of one class of slaves to be seized 
by another not less vile and degraded. Among the cap- 
tives annually brouglit into Egypt were numerous young 
men from that district of Western Asia which in our 
days is denominated Circassia. Being enrolled as sol- 
diers, they were stationed in the several fortresses and 
strongholds which had been erected throughout the king- 
dom with the view of checking the insubordination of 
the people ; and, accordingly, from the name of such 
castles in the Coptic tongue, they were denominated 
Borghites, or garrison-troops, to distinguish them from 
those who served in the field. By a captain of this 
militia, whose name was Barcok, the JMamlouk dynasty, 
properly so called, was brought to an end, and a new 
race of princes elevated to the vacant throne. His 
valour and wisdom entitled him to the place which he 
usurped, and he proved a benefactor to the unhappy 
country which he could hardly fail to despise. 

The latter part of the fourteenth century witnessed 
the first menaces of those warlike hordes, who, under 
the various designations of Monguls and Tatars, carried 
their arms into the southern pro^onces of Asia, and at 
length conquered settlements in the richest parts 
of Africa and Europe. Tamerlane, who had already 
overrun the fine countries watered by the Tigris and 
Euphrates, was desirous to add S\Tia also to his domi- 
nions. With this great object in vicAv, he was directing 
his march towards the west, when, finding that the 
Sultan of Egypt had collected a strong force at Damas- 
cus to dispute liis progress, he turned on his steps and 
sought a less formidable enemy near the sources of the 
Indus, At the same time the furious Bajazet, at the 
head of his Ottoman levies, was spreadmg terror upon 
both sides of the Hellespont, and had approached to the 
very gates of Constantinople. He had, indeed, expressed 
a determination to reduce that city, and to found his 
government upon the ruins of the Roman empire ; in 
pursuance of which plan he eagerl}' solicited the friend- 



ship of Barcok and the blessing of the caliph, who, in CHAP, vii 
his capacity of Imaum or chief priest of the JMohamme- 
dan church, kept his usual residence at Cairo. The critical posi- 
fate of Egypt appeared for a time inseparably connected tion of Egypt 
with the policy of one or other of these warriors, who 
were resolved to possess it either as an ally or as a vassal. 
But, fortunately for the peace and independence of that 
country, the armies of the rival barbarians exhausted 
themselves in mutual hostilities, till, after various suc- 
cess on either side, Bajazet was taken prisoner, and Captivity of 
Tamerlane relinquished the pursuit of military fame. ^J*^*'- 
Relieved from a confederacy which must have borne it 
down, Egypt preserved, a century and a half longer, 
under a succession of very feeble princes, the semblance 
of supreme power ; when at length, in 1517, the vic- 
torious arms of the Turks dethroned the last of the 
Borghite dynasty, and reduced his kingdom to the con 
dition of a province. 

In the most perfect form of the Turkish govemmen"t Fonn of the 
in Egypt it consisted of a divan, or council of regency, gOTemment. 
composed of those who commanded the military bodies, 
— the president, in all cases, being the Pasha, or Viceroy. 
From the IMamlouk Beys, who presided over the pro- 
vinces, were chosen the Sheik el Belled, or Governor of 
Grand Cairo ; the Janizary Aga, or Commander of the 
Janizaries ; the Defturdar, or Accountant-general ; the 
Emir el Hadgi, or Conductor of the Caravan ; the Emir 
el Said, or Governor of Upper Egypt ; and the Sheik el 
Bekheri, or Governor of the Sherifs. 

In the course of the sixteenth century, when Soliman soiiman L 
the First was involved in war with the great European 
powers, the authority of the Porte in Egypt was con- 
siderably diminished, and several important changes 
were introduced into the local government. The beys, Turkish 
who superintended the twenty-four departments into ®^^ 
which the kingdom was divided, collected the revenues 
of their respective districts, and thereby acquired a 
degree of influence which rendered them equally inso- 
lent and formidable. The heads of the seven military 




iccpssion of 


Accession of 

Politic pro- 

corps and the pasha becoming excessively avaricious, 
courted the favour of the beys, who could enforce the 
pajrment of tribute with severity', or remit it in part, 
according to their pleasure. By indulging the members 
of the regency, these officers in their turn increased in 
power tUl they obtained the complete disposal of public 
affairs. The subordinate governors had originally a 
few Mamlouka at their command, for enabling them to 
make then* authority respected in the provinces where 
they presided ; but in proportion as their power was 
enlarged they augmented their attendants, and bj'' that 
means added materially to their military strength as 
indeiDendent rulers. When, too, a vacancy occurred in 
any j)articular district, the most influential bey had his 
favoiu-ite slave appointed to the office. Such an election 
still farther augmented his authority ; and by pursuing 
a similar course, the most active of these chiefs acquired 
a continually increasing weight in the government, and 
their adherents at length became the only efficient sol- 
diers in the state. 

By means similar to those now described, Ibrahim, one 
of the veteran colonels of the Janizaries, succeeded, about 
the middle of last century, in rendering himself in effect 
the sovereign of Egypt. He had so multiplied and ad- 
vanced his enfranchised IMamlouks, that of the twenty- 
four beys no fewer than eight belonged to his household ; 
and the influence connected with these appointments was 
the greater, inasmuch as the pasha always left vacancies 
in the subordinate situations, in order that he might 
appropriate the revenue to his own private purj)oses. 
On the other hand, the largesses which he bestowed on 
the officers and soldiers of his coi-ps had firmly attached 
them to his interest, when Rodoan, the most powerful 
of the Azab colonels, devoted liimself to his cause, and 
thereby completed his political ascendency. The pasha, 
incapable of opposuig this faction, was no more than a 
phantom in the public eye, and even the orders of the 
sultan himself were lightly regarded when weighed 
against those of Ibrahim. At liis death, which happened 


in 1757, his slaves, divided among themselves but united CHAP. VIL 
agamst all others, continued to give the law. Rodoan, protracted 
who had succeeded to tlic influence of his colleague, was cabal. 
expelled and slain by the younger beys ; and during a 
period of ten years the affairs of Egypt were managed 
by a cabal, whose principal motives, veiled by the most 
empty pretensions of patriotism, were ambition and re- 
venge. At length the celebrated Ali, one of their num- ^li Bey. 
ber, gained a decided superiority over his rivals ; and, 
imder the successive titles of Emir Hadgi and Sheik el 
Belled, and by means which indicate the degraded con- 
dition of all classes of the people, rendered himself abso- 
lute master of the whole country. 

The birth of Ali Bey, like that of the Mamlouks in ins origin, 
genei'al, is extremely uncertam. It is commonly be- 
lieved in Egypt that he Avas the son of a Circassian pea- 
sant, bought or captured as a slave when about twelve 
years of age, and afterwards sold at Cairo to a Jew, who 
made a present of him to Ibrahim, the aspirmg chief 
already mentioned. In the house of his patron he re^ Educatioa 
ceived the customary education of a page, which con- 
sisted in horsemanship, in the ready use of the carbine, 
pistol, and sabre, in throwing the lance, and sometimes 
in a little reading and writing. In these exercises he 
displayed an activity and fire wliich obtained for him the 
surname of Djendali, or IMadcap. But the calculations 
and anxiety inseparable from ambition soon moderated 
this excessive wannth. At the age of eighteen he re- jjis manu 
ceived the gift of manumission from his indulgent master, nussion. 
who soon afterwards appointed him to a government, and 
procured for him a place among the twenty-four beys, at 
once the tyrants and protectors of the unhappy natives. 

The death of Ibrahim, we have remarked, was a signal incident con- 
to his dependants for rapacity and intrigue. Ali Bey was !f *^"?°' °" 
neither the least active nor the least successful. He ibraiiim. 
precipitated Rodoan from his guilty elevation, and was 
preparing to realize a plan for thinning still farther the 
ranks of his opponents, when he was compelled to leave 
the city and take refuge in a temporary exile. At the 




of Ali Bey, in 

of the Porte. 

Red Sea fleet. 



end of two years, which he had spent in making the 
necessary arrangements, he appeared suddenly in Cairo ; 
slew four beys who were his enemies ; banished four 
others ; and from that moment became the chief of the 
prevailing party. He no longer thought it necessary to 
conceal his ulterior views ; but expelling the pasha, and 
refusing the tribute annually remitted to Constantinople, 
he assumed the supreme power, and even proceeded so 
far as to coin money in his own name. 

The Porte did not behold without indignation such an 
attack upon its authority ; but, being occupied with the 
affairs of Poland and the pretensions of Russia, could not 
bestow a sufficient degree of attention on the revolted 
province. The usual methods of poison and the bow- 
string were repeatedly attempted ; but Ali, whose vigi- 
lance was ever awake, turned these deadly instruments 
against the Kves of those who bore them. To consoli- 
date his power, he equipped a fleet in the Red Sea, and 
took possession of Mecca and Djidda ; at the latter of 
which places he meant to establish an emporium of 
Indian commerce, and thereby to supersede the tedious 
voyage by the Cape of Good Hope. His chief under- 
taking, however, was directed against the Turkish arms 
in Syria. Sheik Daher, already in rebellion, was a 
powerful and faithful ally ; while the extortions of the 
Pasha of Damascus, by driving the people to revolt, 
afforded the most favourable opportunity for invading 
his government. 

In the year 1771 a force, amounting to about sixty 
thousand men, crossed the frontier under the command 
of Mohammed Bey, the friend of Ali. Daher sent four 
or five thousand irregular cavalry to strengthen the 
expedition, led by his son, a youth of great military 
promise ; while on the other hand, the Pashas of Sidon, 
Tripoli, and Aleppo, mustered their several contingents, 
and advanced to join Osman the governor of Damascus, 
whose territory was menaced with invasion. On the 
6th of June, an action took place, when the Mamlouks 
and their allies rushed with so much fury on the Turks 


that the latter, terrified at the carnage, had unmediate chap. vii. 
recourse to flight. The troops of Ali instantly became ^ ~~„ 
masters of the whole country, and took possession of the 'i uiks. 
capital without opposition, there being neither soldiers 
nor walls to defend it. The castle, mdeed, made a show 
of resistance ; but the garrison, already conquered by 
their own fears, soon hastened to capitulate, in order to 
prevent the horrors of an assault. 

The morning on which the place was to be sm-ren- Extraordin- 
dered witnessed an extraordinary scene ; for, at dawn of ?fy retreat of 

1 .1 T-i • 1 ^ 1 T • r> 11 t"® Egyptian 

day the li,gyptian army was beheld m full retreat to- aimi'. 
wards the Nile. In vain did Daher fly to demand the 
cause of so strange a measure ; Mohammed made no 
other answer to the anxious interrogatories of the Syrian 
rebel than that it was his pleasure to retire, and that no 
one was entitled to question the pradence of his conduct. 
Nor was it merely a retreat conducted on military prin- characteris- 
ciples : it was a positive flight ; the Mamlouks rushing "cs of total 
from before the walls as if hotly pursued by a victorious '^ 
enemy, while the road from Damascus to Cau-o was 
covered with men on foot, and with the stores and bag- 
gage which they had aljandoned. This singular occur- 
rence was attributed at the time to a pretended report 
of the death of Ali Bey ; but the real cause, soon after- 
wards discovered, was no other than a conference w-ith (-.g^gg ^f ^^^^^ 
Osman, held in the tent of the Egyptian commander, pioceeding. 
when the jjasha gained him and the beys under liis orders 
to the interests of the Sublime Porte. Convinced by the 
arguments addressed to their avarice not less than to 
their fears, they swore by the sabre and the Koran to 
return home without delay ; and so suddenly did they 
execute their determination that the news of their 
coming preceded their actual arrival at Cairo only by 
six hours. Ali woiild at once have punished tliis treason Policy of AJi. 
b}^ the death of his general ; but, finding him supported 
by many powerful individuals in the army, he suppressed 
his rage, thinking it more politic to postpone the moment 
of revenge till he could gratify it without danger. 
To effect the ruin of Mohammed, whose conduct even 




against Mo- 

His retire- 

tion of liis 

Flight of All 

Total defeat 
of Moham- 
med Bey. 

after the affair of Damascus continued to excite sus- 
picion, lie gave orders on one occasion, that no Mamlouk 
should he suffered to pass the gates of Cairo in the eve- 
ning or at night ; and, at the same moment, commanded 
his rival into exile. He had hoped, it was supposed, 
that the object of his displeasure, as he must necessarily 
leave the city before morning, would be detained by the 
guards for attempting to violate the regulation just men- 
tioned, and be thereby placed enthely in his power. 
But the soldiers, imagining that theu* general was 
charged with private instructions from Ali, allowed him 
to pass without interruption, although accompanied by 
a foi-midable retinue ; nor was the mistake discovered 
until it was too late to pursue him. The fugitive retired 
into the Said, where he drew around him all the dis- 
contented Mamlouks, and waited with impatience an 
opportunity for avenging their common cause. 

In a little tune the force of this disaffected chief was 
so greatly augmented that he thought himself sufficiently 
strong to make an attempt upon Cairo. A battle ensued 
in a plain adjoining to the city, which terminated so 
decidedly to the advantage of the insurgents that Ali 
found some difficulty in escaping at the head of eight 
hundred horsemen, who accompanied his flight into 
S}Tia. There he jomed his old ally Dalier, who still 
held out against the government of Constantinople ; and, 
having strengthened the camp with so seasonable a rein- 
forcement of well-discijilined cavalry, he took share in 
an expedition at that instant meditated by the revolted 
pasha, the object of which was to raise the siege of Sidon. 
The Turks, unwilling to be attacked in their trenches, 
drew out their tumultuary bands to a little distance from 
the tovn\, and prepared for a general action. Fortune 
once more smiled on Ali and his confederates, who soon 
saw the anny of the enemy, three times more numerous 
than their own, entirely defeated, and scattered over the 
face of the country. 

Flushed with this success, the exiled ruler longed to 
return to his capital, where he was insidiously informed 


by the agents of Mohammed, that the majority of the chap. vil. 
inhabitants were anxious to behold him restored to his Prematnre 
former power. He was also deceived by his superstition, triumph of 
which taught him to believe that the hour of his ascend- ' '^^' 
ant was come, and that the stars pointed out the path to 
a renewed and permanent glory. Had he listened to the 
voice of prudence, he would have waited for the assist- 
ance promised by the Russians, — who did not disdain to 
consider him a useful ally in their war with the Porte, 
— and for the troops detached by Daher, to secure a 
victorious return, wliatever might be the intentions or 
military resources of the hostile beys. But yielding to 
an inconsiderate impatience, with the remains of his gjg defeat 
Mamlouks and fifteen hundred Sifadians, he entered the 
desert, where he was met by Slourad at the head of a 
superior force ; wounded by the hand of this young 
officer ; taken prisoner ; and forthwith conducted into 
the presence of his enemy. On the third day after capture and 
this event, his death was announced to the soldiers, who death, 
were desu-ed to ascribe it to the severe hurts which he 
had received in the fight ; but who, notwithstanding, 
were generally disposed to trace it to the operation of 
poison, or to the less tedious application of the dagger. 

Thus terminated the career of this celebrated person, „. , 
1 r • ■ !• -r^ I "'^ charao- 

wno tor some time engaged the attention ot Ji^urope, and ter. 

afforded to many politicians the hopes of a beneficial 

revolution. That he was an extraordinary character 

cannot be denied ; but it is exaggeration to place him in 

the class of great men. The accounts given of him by 

those who knew him best, prove that though he possessed 

the seeds of great qualities, the want of culture prevented 

them fi'om coming to maturity. Notwithstanding, we 

must admire in him one property which distinguished 

him from the multitude of tyrants who have governed 

Egypt, and which is never the portion of vulgar minds ; 

he was actuated by the desire of attaining glory, although Elevating 

a vicious education prevented him from discovering its tics. 

true elements as well as the path wliich leads to it. To 

be a great statesman as well as a warrior he wanted 


CHAP. VII. nothing but the lessons of civilized life, or the aid of 
enlightened counsellors ; and, of those Avho are bom to 
command, how few are there who merit even this re- 
stricted eulogium ! * 
Government The death of All Bey did not produce any change 
med° *™" favourable to Egypt ; on the contrary, Mohammed, into 
whose hands the supreme power fell undivided, displayed, 
during the two years of his government, no qualities 
more respectable than the ferocity of a robber and the 
baseness of a traitor. He began, indeed, by renewmg 
the customary tribute to the sultan, and even paid the 
arrears due by liis predecessor ; but his conduct soon 
Base motives, proved that, instead of acting on the principles of a 
generous patriotism, he intended no more than to pur- 
chase the means of gratifying political revenge, and 
of depressing a formidable neighbour. He sought per- 
mission to wage war with Daher, and to reduce the whole 
of Syria to the obedience of the Porte ; thereby covering 
the deep feeling of private resentment under the cloak of 
public duty. 
Siege of After due preparation, he undertook the siege of Jaffa, 

Jaffu. which, owing to the ignorance of the assailants rather 

than the courage of the gai-rison, was protracted to the 
end of six weeks. At length conditions were agreed on, 
and the treaty might have been held as concluded, when, 
in the midst of the security occasioned by that belief, 
the Mamlouks mshing into the town, subjected it to 
all the horrors of an assault, putting women and chil- 
dren, old and 3' oung, to death ; while Mohammed, equally 
Barbarous mean and barbarous, caused a pyramid, formed of the 
triumph. heads of these unfortunate sufferers, to be raised as a 
monument of his victory. He next advanced to Acre, 
where the Sheik Daher had established his government, 
and demanded that all the riches accumulated withm the 
city should be delivered up to him, under the pain of a 
universal massacre of the inhabitants, not excepting the 

• Volney's Travels through Ey;ypt and Syria, vol. i. p. 13a 
Edinburgh Encyclopaedia, article Egypt. 


European merchants. But, before the day arrived on chap, vii 
which he intended to realize his savage threatening, he sudden" 
was carried off by a maUgnant fever in the veiy prime death. 
of life. 

This event took place in the summer of 1776 ; upon Dispersion of 
wliich the army, as on a former occasion, dispersed in ® ^""''" 
the greatest disorder, and accomplislied a tumultuous 
retreat into Egypt. Mohammed liad left at Caii'o one 
of his freedmen, Ibraliim Bey, as governor of the city, 
taking with him into Syi'ia the more warlike Mourad, 
to whom he confided the managumcnt of the campaign 
These two chiefs were now prepared to dispute the sue- ^^i^a' chiefs, 
cession, and every appearance at first threatened oper. 
hostilities ; but, when they had time to consider the 
power and resources of each other, they determined to 
avoid the issue of a combat, and to share between them 
the authority which neither was content to reUnquish. 

Their joint administi-ation, however, was soon dis- Opponenta 
turl)ed by the jealousies of the other beys, wlio thought 
themselves unjustly deprived of the influence wliich 
belonged to their rank, — a feelmg which made the deep- 
est impression on certam individuals who had belonged 
to the house of Ali, the great patron of their order. 
Two of that number, Hassan and Ishmael, collected 
their adherents and took the field. Mourad pursued 
them iato the Said, where the greater part either aban- 
doned their leaders or capitulated without coming to 

Dissension at length divided the interests of the sove- Dissensions 
reign colleagues, and even drove them to arms. Each 
in his turn fled from Cairo, and formed an encampment 
in Upper Egypt ; but no sooner did their troops appear 
in sight of one another, than the chiefs induced them to 
settle their differences on the basis of a new treaty. 
Matters continued in this precarious situation till 178G, Resolution of 
when, peace bemg established between the Russians and 
the Turks, the sultan resolved to reduce Egypt once 
more to a state of obedience. With this view he de- 
spatclied the celebrated Hassan Pasha at the head of 




Battle of 

Hassan ap- 
pointed go- 
vernor of 

Settled go- 

Death of the 


25,000 men, who, landing at Alexandria in the month 
of Julv, made instant preparations for advancing to- 
wards the capital. Mourad and his Mamlouks met him 
at Mentorbes, where a desperate battle ensued. The 
ground being still very soft from the effects of the inun- 
dation, the Tiu-kish infantry gained a decided advantage 
over horsemen whose movements were constantly im- 
peded, and who, sinking in the mud, were equally in- 
capable of attack or defence. Caii'O opened its gates to 
Hassan, who, after appointing a governor, continued his 
march in pursuit of the rebellious beys into Upper 
Egypt. The difficulties of this undertaking, however, 
induced him in the course of the following year to 
accede to a treaty, by which the insurgents were left in 
full possession of the country'' from Barbieh to the fron- 
tiers of Nubia, on condition of relinquishing all claims 
to the territory below the limits now specified. 

The wisdom and moderation of the Turkish deputy 
procured the inestimable blessing of a settled government 
to the uihabitants of Lower Egypt. He lightened their 
burdens, redressed their numerous grievances, and forti- 
fied the city so as to protect it from a sudden inroad on 
the part of the disaffected beys. But, in 1V90, the plague 
appeared in its most virulent form, and, after commit- 
ting frightful devastation among the peasantry, put an 
end to the life of the pasha hunself. Only a short inter- 
val elapsed, duruig which an attempt was made to per- 
petuate the authority of the Porte, when Mourad and 
Ibraliim returned from their exile, and assumed once 
more the sovereign power in defiance of the sultan and 
his divan. 

But the domestic struggles of party were now about 
to be superseded by an event which threatened the ex- 
istence of Egypt as a province of the Turkish empire. 
In J 798, a French army under General Bonaparte 
effected a landing near Alexandria, with tlie avowed 
object of restoring the legitimate influence of the grand 
seignior, but with the real intention of adding that im- 
portant country to the dominions of the new rejiublic. 


The Mamlouks resolved to dispute his passage towards chap, vil 
the capital, and accordingly awaited his approach at Eattieofthe 
Imbaha, a village about seven mUes distant from the Pyramids. 
Great Pyramids. As might have been expected, the 
discipline of the French triumphed over the wUd courage 
of their opponents, gained a complete victory, and opened 
the way for the possession of Cairo. Ibrahim fled into 
the eastern parts of the Delta, while JIo\uad with the 
remnant of his brave horsemen retreated into the desert 
beyond Sakhara. 

The possession of Egj'pt had long been viewed by the Policy of tiip 
politicians of France as an object of great unportance. e'^^T^'^ ° 
It is therefore an error to suppose that the scheme of 
conqueriQg that coimtry originated with iS^apoleon Bo- 
naparte ; for he, in adopting this bold measure, did no 
more than follow up the ideas of several ^Titers who 
had great influence on the public mind of Europe. Sa- 
nuto the Venetian, for example, mentions the subjuga- Origin of tha 
tion of Egypt by some nation whose territory bordered 
on the ^Nlediteri'anean, as the most eff"cctual blow that 
could be struck against the power of the Crescent, as 
weU as the most likely means for recovering the India 
trade. Count Daru, who in his history of Venice re- 
peats the arguments of Sanuto, reminds his readers, that 
the communication between Hindostan and the southern Schemes of 
parts of Europe, by the channel of the Red Sea, was the ^^^^ •=""■ 
shortest, the surest, and the most economical ; that it 
would not be difficult to establish a communication be- 
tween the Arabian Gulf and the Nile ; that, independ- 
ently of the commerce of India, there was on the eastern 
coast of that sea a region abounding in aromatics and Anticipations 
perfumes ; that Africa itself, by its gold and ivory, of- "" ^^ *'"^''' 
fered rich materials for trade ; and, in short, that the 
occupation of Egypt by one of the maritime powers of 
the Mediterranean was preferable to the possession of all 
the provinces between the Indus and the Ganges.* 

* The motives on which the expedition was undertaken are thus 
explained by Napoleon himself: " There were,"' says he, "three 
objects in the expedition to Egypt, — 1st, To establish a French co- 


CHAP. \aL Leibnitz, too, addressed to Louis the Fourteenth a 
Opinion of memorial on the same sul)ject, advising him to lay hold 
Leibnitz. pf ti;iat country for the purpose of destroymg the mari- 
time and commercial ascendency of the Dutcli, which 
he alleges depended mainly on the success of their Indian 
trade. It is therefore manifest that Bonaparte onlj'' re- 
vived an old theory, and attempted to launch against 
Britain the weapon which the German philosopher had 
forged for the destruction of the merchants and ship- 
masters of Holland.* 
The Sultan The government of the sultan, who could not mistake 
^■"^th^F* '^^'^ ^^® motives of Napoleon, declared war in the following 
year against the French republic. Throwmg off the 
mask, political and religious, which did not deceive even 

lony on the Nile, which would prosper without slaves, and serve 
France instead of the republic of St Domingo and of all the sugar 
islands ; 2c?/y, To open a market for our manufactures in Africa, 
Arabia, and Syria, and to supply our commerce with all the produc- 
tions of those vast countries ; 2>dhj, Setting out from Egypt as 
from a place of arms, to lead an army of 60,000 men to the Indus, 
to excite the Mahrattas and oppressed people of those extensive re- 
gions to insurrection. Sixty thousand men, half Europeans and 
half recruits from the burning climates of the equator and the tro- 
pics, carried by 10,000 horses and 50,000 camels, having with them 
provisions for fifty or sixty days, water for five days, and a train of 
artillery of a hundred and fifty pieces, with double supplies of am- 
munition, would have reached the Indus in four months. Since the 
invention of shipping the ocean has ceased to be an obstacle ; and 
the desert is no longer an impediment to an army possessed of 
camels and dromedaries in abundance. The two first objects were 
fulfilled, and notwithstanding the loss of Admiral Bruey's squadron 
at Alexandria, the intrigue by which Kleber was induced to sign 
the convention of El Arish, the landing of from 30.000 to 33,000 
English, commanded by Abercromby at Aboukir and Cosseir, the 
third object would have been attained ; a French army would have 
reached the Indus in the winter of 1801-1802, had not the com- 
mand of the array devolved, in consequence of the murder of Kle- 
ber, on a man who, although abounding in courage, talents for 
business, and goodwill, was of a disposition wholly unfit for any 
military command."' — Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 205. 

* Histoire de Venice, tome iii. pp. 75, 76. Webster's Travels 
through the Crimea, Turkey, and Egypt. The Venetians solicited 
the authority of the Pope to trade with Infidels; but in the mean 
time, says the historian, they made no scruple to conform to the 
errors of the Mussulmans, by enacting treaties '' in the name of the 
Lord and of Mahomet" — au nom du Seigneur et de Mahomet. 


the Arabs and Fellahs of "Egjipt, the invader led his CHAP viL 
army into Syria and laid siege to the principal towns on p^o ~d^ 
the coast. El Arish and Jaffa were quickly reduced ; of Napoleon 
upon which he opened his trenches before Acre. The 
result of this memorable enterprise is too well known 
to require any details. After sacrificing his heavy ar- Discomfiture 
tillery, the conqueror of Italy commenced a retreat to- a' ^^re. 
wards Egypt under the most unfavourable circum- 
stances ; his track through the desert being marked by the 
dead bodies of his soldiers, who had sunk under fatigue 
or were cut do'wn by the light cavalry of the enemy. 

Dessaix, wlio had been left to prosecute the war against Failure of 
the Mamlouks, found himself unable to bring them to a ^''^'"^ 
general action. Mourad retired before him as far as 
Syene, occupying such positions as rendered an attack 
impossible ; and no sooner did the French turn their 
backs, than he assailed their rear or cut off their sup- 
plies. Meanwhile a Turkish fleet appeared on the coast Turkish rein- 
with eight thousand men on board. Hardly had they defeated. 
landed when they were met by Bonaparte, who, after 
an obstinate and sanguinary conflict, overwhelmed them 
with a complete destruction ; the most of those who 
escaped his bayonets being drowned in attempting to 
regain their ships. 

Although we profess not to give the history of the Exaeserated 
military proceedings which determined the fate of Egypt ^*^'^°™'^ 
at the beginning of this century, we cannot pass with- 
out remark the exaggeration of Denon, who says that 
at Aboukir the French destroyed twenty thousand Turks, 
six thousand being killed, two thousand taken, and the 
remainder driven into the sea. Such statements were 
written to gratify the pride or amuse the anxiety of the Motives for 
Parisians, who could not conceal from themselves that ^*™" 
their country had sacrificed a fleet and an army to the 
romantic ambition of a popular general ; and it is no 
longer denied by the biographers of Bonaparte, that he 
was in the practice of dictating falsehoods, to be given 
to the world in the form of public despatches, in order to 
withdraw attention from the amount of his disasters. 



FaUui-e of 

His return 
to France. 


of GeuenJ 

Tlie victory of Nelson, and the repulses sustained in 
Syria, indicated to this chief that the star of his fortune 
was not to reach its ascendant in Egypt. Intrusting the 
command to Kleber, he departed in a secix-t manner 
from head-quarters, and sailed for France, where he 
hastened to forget the companions of his toU in the deep 
game of politics wliich soon afterwards placed him on a 
throne. Napoleon is understood to have instructed liis 
successor in the East to enter into a negotiation with the 
government of the Porte for evacuating the country, 
on condition that certain commercial advantages should 
be conceded to the French republic. Failing in this, it 
is related that Ivleber consented to withdraw his army 
on the simple terms of being allowed to retain private 
property, and of having the safety of his men guar- 
anteed against the 3Iamlouks on shore and the British at 
sea. But the treaty does not appear to have been signed ; 
each pai-ty imagining that theh- cii'cum stances might be 
improved b^' another appeal to arms. The French gene- 
ral, indeed, was soon afterwards assassinated at Cairo ; 
when ]Menou, who succeeded to the chief authority, being 
encouraged by the expectation of receiving fresh supplies 
from Europe, resolved to keep possession of the country 
at all hazards, and to defend his positions against the 
combined forces of the Turks and English.* 

* Sir Robert Wilson (History of Expedition, p. 65. quarto edi- 
tion) assigns a reason for the renewal of the war highly creditable 
to the British character. Admiral Keith refused to give his con- 
sent to the conditions agreed upon at EI Arish, communicating to 
the Turks his conviction of the greater expediency of driving the 
French out of the country altogether. Kleber was at Cairo, and 
making preparations to evacuate the capital, when a notice reached 
him from Sir Sidney Smith, stating that hostilities were to be con- 
tinued, and that he was not expected to fulfil the terms of a con- 
vention which was not to be observed by the other party. The 
Turks, it is said, meant to take advantage of Kleber's ignorance, 
and to attack him while reposing on his arms. It is added, that 
they never forgave Sir Sidney for his generous honesty, consider- 
ing him as little better than a traitor to their cause. 

Others insinuate that Kleber had no intention of acceding to the 
treaty, and that he negotiated with the allies only to gain time until 
the arrival of reinforcements from Europe should enable him to act 


The debarkation of the army under Sir Ralph Aber- chap, vii 
cromby, the gallant actions which succeeded, and the sirRaipii 
defeat of the French near Alexandria, on the 21st March Abercrom 

„ - , . !• .T T 1 i "'6 3 success 

1800, are matters or general history lamuiarly known to 
every reader. Egypt at that period became the scene 
of European wars ; the policy of two great nations was 
brought into collision on the banks of the Nile ; and the 
fate of India, or at least the temporary security of the its conse- 
British possessions in that vast country, appeared to de- quences. 
pend on the success or failure of this unwonted expedi- 
tion into an African province. Each party professed to 
suj^port the legitimate power of the grand seignior ; but 
even the simplest of the Arab tribes could not fail to 
perceive that their land was desolated by the ambition 
of the Franks, who, they began to suspect, were accus- 
tomed to avoM one motive and to act upon another. 

The siege of Alexandria was rendered remarkable by Remarkab e 
an expedient which necessity appeared to sanction, expedient, 
though doubts have since been entertained both of its 
wisdom and humanity. It is worthy of notice, at the 
same time, that it was suggested by the French ; for in 
the pocket of General Roiz, who was kUled in the action 
of the 21st, there was found a letter written by Menou, 
expressing an apprehension that the British would cut j^^ f,,^^^ ^,] 
the embankment along which was carried the canal of objccL 
Alexandria, and thereby admit the watere of the sea into 
Lake ]\Iareotis. " From that moment," says Sir Robert 
Wilson, " it had become the favourite object of the 
army, as, by securing the bft and part of its front, the 
duty would be diminished, the French cut off from the 
interior, and a new scene of operations opened." But 
there were very serious objections to the measure, more objections, 
especially as the mischief it might do was incalculable. 
The Arabs could give no information where such a sea 
would be checked ; the ruin of Alexandi-ia might pro- 

vrith greater certainty of success. See Wilson ; Dr Clarke, vol. iii. ; 
Life of Bonaparte in Family Library; Bourienne's Memoirs; and 
the Modern Traveller. 

CHAP. Aai. 


earned out. 


Seige of 

Terms of 

Blockade of 


bably be the consequence ; and it was also obvious, that 
\vhile the inundation covered the British left, it would 
also secure the front of the French position, except from 
a new landing-. But the urgency of the present service 
seemed to justify the neglect of all remoter considera- 
tions. The general reluctantly consented, and the army, 
it is said, was in raptures. Never did a working-party 
labour with more zeal ; every man would have volun- 
teered with cheerfulness to assist. Four cuts were made, 
of six yards in breadth, and about ten distant from each 
other ; but only two could be opened the first night. 
At seven o'clock the last fascine was removed, and the 
joy was universal. The water rushed in with a fall of 
six feet ; and the pride and peciiliar care of Egj-pt, the 
consolidation of ages, was in a few hours destroyed by 
the devastating hand of man. Two more cuts were 
finished next day, and three more marked out ; but the 
force of the water was such as soon to break one into the 
other ; and now an immense body of water rushed in, 
which contmued flowing for a month with considerable 

After a variety of skirmishes, Avhich usually termi- 
nated to the advantage of the British and their allies, 
Hutchinson resolved to lay siege to Caii-o, where the 
main strength of the French aiTny was now assembled. 
Beluird, who commanded in that city, proposed terms of 
capitulation ; being at length perfectly satisfied that, 
without reinforcements from Em-ope, the war could not 
be carried on with any rational prospect of success. On 
the 27th June articles were signed, by which the gar- 
rison consented to evacuate the capital on condition of 
being sent to France. 

Meantime the blockade of Alexandria was prosecuted 
with vigour under the direction of General Coote. 
Menou, it is said, had expressed his determination to 
bury himself in its ruins rather than pull down the flag 
of the victorious republic ; but no sooner had a regular 
bombardment commenced from the ships in the harbour 
and the batteries on land, than his resolution failed, and 


he expressed his readiness to listen to terms. On the chap. ati. 
second of September, the garrison laid down their arms, surrender of 
on the usual condition of being sent to their own ^^^ garrison, 
country without any impeachment on their honour as 
soldiers ; and thus Egypt, after having been more than 
two years the theatre of a destructive war, found itself 
once more under the government of the Turks, and ac- 
knowledging the authority of the Sublime Porte. 

The British general exerted himself to the utmost to E.xertions in 
procure favourable terms in behalf of the Mamlouk beys, theTiamlouk 
who, it was well known, had resolutely opposed the bejs. 
French, and suffered no small loss, both in men and pro- 
perty, in the earlier period of the invasion. Mourad had 
already fallen a victim to the plague, and Ibrahim, now 
well advanced in age, was at the head of their affairs, 
assisted by Osman Tambourji, an active and very gallant 
officer. On the suiTender of Cairo, General Hutcliinson Terms de- 
insisted that they sh^^uld have restored to them all theii ^g'^.* 
rights and dignities, on the condition of paying an annual 
tribute to the sultan, and of permitting the pasha to 
exercise the authority belongmg to him, as a viceroy, at 
the head of a competent body of troops. 

The grand vizier, who was still in Egypt, ostensibly Policy of 
concurred in this an-angement, and reinstated Ibrahim in ^ilifr^"** 
his former office of Sheik el BeUed, or governor of Cau-o ; 
but it was, nevertheless, the intention of the court to 
depress the beys to such a degree that they should no 
longer have it m their power to disturb the tranquillity 
of the province. With this view the capitan pasha invited 
their leader, with his principal officers, to his camp at Tiie leaders 
Aboukir. These rough soldiers, dreading no treachery, ** ^boiikir. 
repaired to the admiral's presence, and were received 
by him with every demonstration of esteem. Pleasure 
and amusements were freely lavished on them ; but, as 
this complaisance had no apparent object, the guests be- 
came tired of it, expressed their suspicions to the British Suspicions 
general, and even threatened to leave the camp without s^<="'^- 
permission. That officer assured them of the friendly 
intentions of tbe pasha, and of tlieir ovra safety ; not 




ment of the 



British re- 


suspecting the frightful atrocity which the barbarian 
chief was actually meditating. 

A short time afterwards, when Lord Hutchinson was 
about to leave the country, Hassan again invited the 
beys to a sumptuous entertainment ; on which occasion, 
at his urgent request, they consented to go on board 
some pleasure-boats which he had provided for the pur- 
pose. When they had proceeded to a little distance at 
sea, they were followed by a fast-sailing skiff, sent as it 
were with intelligence to the pasha ; which he no sooner 
perceived than he mentioned the necessity of conversing 
with the messenger, apprehending that he might be the 
bearer of important despatches from Constantinople. 
The cutter came alongside, and what appeared to be 
ample despatches were handed to the Tui-k, who, on 
pretence of reading them more at liis leisure, stepped 
into the small vessel, which iimnediately fell back. The 
IMamlouks, not yet suspecting the snare wliich was laid 
for them, proceeded on their course ; but no sooner did 
they enter Aboukir Bay than they saw some large ships 
filled with soldiers, and ready for action. They nov; 
perceived their danger, and their woret fears were about 
to be realized ; for discharges of musketry and artillery 
hurling destruction among the boats killed nearly all 
that were on board. Those who escaped death were 
taken prisoners, and forced to swear on the Koran that 
they would not reclaim the protection of the English. 
Our countrjTiien, however, indignant at this abominable 
instance of Mussulman treachery, and sensible that their 
own faith had been pledged for the safety of the beys, 
addressed to the pasha a very severe remonstrance : they 
insisted that the prisoners should be liberated, and that 
the bodies of the murdered chiefs should be buried with 
military'- honours. 

On the departure of Hassan, Mohammed Kusrouf, his 
favourite slave, was appointed Pasha of Grand Cairo. 
A Georgian by birth, this minion of fortune, equally 
weak and tyrannical, seemed to confine all the energies 
of his government to the extermination of the hated 



Mamlouks. He invited them to fix their residence in chap, vii 

tlie capital ; and, upon meeting a direct refusal, he sent piotl^nst 

a strong force against them into Upper Egypt, under the ttie Jiam- 

command of Taher, and the celebrated Mohammed Ali, ^Joj^^mmed 

then beginning to rise into power. All attempts at Ali. 

negotiation having failed, he despatched a larger army 

which he intrusted to Yousef Bey, with strict orders to 

prosecute the war with the utmost vigour. Abattle ensued 

in the neighbourhood of Damanhour, in which the Turks Defeat of 

were miseral>ly defeated, witli the loss of five thousand tiie Turks. 

men killed and wounded. The conquerors, bemg very 

little weakened, might have pushed thou- success to the 

gates of Cairo ; but, from ignorance and dissension, they 

threw away the fmits of their victory, and allowed the 

viceroy time to rally the fugitives, and place the city ui 

a posture of defence. 

Yousef attributed his want of success to the disaffec- charge 

tion or the cowardice of Mohammed Ali, who appears to ai?ainst 
, , , . , , ft , JlohammeJ 

have been second m command, — a charge winch was ail 

eagerly listened to by the pasha, who had already seen 
reason to apprehend the ambitious projects of this re- 
markable person, whose character has suice made so deep 
an impression on the affau's of Egypt. The attempt Rsvoiution 
which was made to bring him to trial occasioned a revo- ^ Egypt- 
lution in the government, the effects of which liave been 
perpetuated to tlie present day ; but, in order that the 
connexion of events may be more clearly traced, we must 
indulge ia a brief retrospect of his earlier progress to 
wards the distinction which he continues to occupy. 

The present Viceroy of Egypt is a native of Cavalla, EarivUfeof 
a small town in Roumelia, a district of Albania. Losing tiie viceroy, 
liis father in early life, he was protected by the governor 
of the place, who bestowed upon him that species of 
training which quahfies a man to rise under a despotic 
government, where vigilance, intrepidity, and a ready 
use of arms, are held the most valuable accomplishments. 
His activity recommended him to an appointment as a 
subordinate collector of taxes ; and, in the performance 
of this duty, it Avas observed that he set a higher value 



of jife. 

mode 01 


Success in 
the field. 

on the money which he was ordered to exact, than on 
the blood or even the lives of the unhappy peasantry 
over whom his jurisdiction extended. On one occasion 
the inhabitants of a vUlage refused payment, resisted, 
threatened, and rose in rebellion. The governor was 
alarmed at this unusual firmness, and applied to Mo- 
hammed. The young functionary undertook to reduce 
them to obedience ; and for this purpose he proceeded to 
the refractory hamlet at the head of a few men hastily 
equipped, announcing that he was charged with a secret 
mission. He entered a mosque, and sent for several of 
the principal inhabitants, who, not suspecting any vio- 
lence, instantly obeyed his summons. No sooner were 
they within the walls, than he ordered them to be bound 
hand and foot, and immediately sent to Cavalla, regard- 
less of the pursuing multitude, whom he overawed by 
threatening to put his captives to death. 

This resolute step procured for him the rank of Bou- 
louk-bashi and a rich wife, a relation of his patron the 
governor. As it is not uncommon among the Turks to 
unite the duties of a soldier with the pui-suits of a mer- 
chant, Mohammed became a dealer in tobacco, — a busi- 
ness which he appears to have followed with consider- 
able success till the invasion of Egypt by the French 
called him to fulfil a higher destiny in the scene of active 
warfare. The contingent of three hundred men, raised 
by the tOAvnship of Cavalla, was placed under his com- 
mand, and being now decorated with the higher title of 
Bin-bashi, he was every where received with the honours 
due to a captain of regular troops. 

His conduct in the field of battle soon attracted tlie 
notice of the pasha, who recommended him to Kusrouf, 
the governor of Cairo. After the massacre of the j\Iam~ 
louks at Aboukir, the young Albanian, as has been already 
stated, obtained the command of a division in the anny 
of Yousef Bey, and joined the expedition agauist the in- 
surgent chiefs, which terminated so fatally to the lives 
as well as to the reputation of the Turks. Yousef, it 
has also been mentioned, accused Mohammed of miscon- 


duct, or disafFection, so extremely palpable as to have chap, vii, 
been the main cause of their sanguinary defeat. Whether AccuseTof 
there was any real ground for this charge it is impossible disaffection. 
to determine ; but at all events it was believed by Kus- 
rouf, who resolved forthwith to expel the Cavalliot from 
the country, as a person in whom he could no longer 
place confidence. 

But the pasha was not aware of the character with Politic con- 
whom he had come into collision. The pay of the troops pasUa. 
was considerably in arrear ; and this the young officer 
demanded in a resolute tone, as the sole condition on 
which he would yield obedience. The governor sent 
orders that he should appear before him in the night ; 
to which message the Roumelian leader, not unacquaint- 
ed with the object of such private interviews, returned 
for answer that he would show himself in broad daylight 
in the midst of his soldiers. Perceiving the danger Avith Plans for 
which he was threatened, Kusrouf admitted into Cairo dangerf 
the Albanian guards under Taher Pasha, hoping that the 
intrigues of the one chief would counteract those of the 
other. But in this expectation he was grievously dis- 
appointed ; for the mountaineers, in whatever points 
they might differ, were unanimous in demanding their 
pay and in all tlie measures which were suggested for 
compelling him to advance it. They attacked the palace, 
reduced the citadel, drove the governor and his household 
from the city, and finally deposited the viceregal power 
in the hands of the Pasha Taher. 

The t}Taniiical measures of this new raler brought his Pasiia Taher 
reign to a close at the end of twenty-two days, and the 
actual government of the coiuitry revei-ted to the hands 
of the Mamlouks, under the aged Ibraliim, Osman Bar- 
dissy, aided by Mohammed Ali. The Porte, indeed, Fate of the 
sent a pasha of high rank to assume the direction of "'^^'^ viceory. 
affairs at Cairo ; but the beys having once more the 
upper hand, and mindful of the cruel treachery inflicted 
upon them by Hassan, seized the viceroy at Alexandria, 
and put him to death. 

The undisputed ascendency of the Mamlouks might 


CHAP. viL in the end have proved fatal to the Albanian captain, 
Cnuiiter^ who did not belong to their body. For this reason he 
plotting of contrived to embroil Bardissy, who has been called the 
.^o lamme jjotspur of the beys, with some of his associates ; and 
finally attacking him with his own hand, drove him 
from the capital, and reinstated the exiled pasha, whom 
he intended to use merely as a tool for efFectmg his own 
Ordei-s of purposes. The grand seignior, suspecting his ambitious 
tiie grand views, issued orders, in the year 1804, that the Albanians 
seigniov should tetum into theii- own country ; intending, it may 
be presumed, to garrison the Egyptian fortresses with 
troops less disposed to insubordination. Mohammed, 
whose plans were gradually advancing towards comple- 
Disregai-a *ion, disregarded this mandate ; mtunating that his scr- 
of them. vices were still necessary to repress the daring designs 
of the INIamlouks, who continued to occupj' the greater 
part of the kingdom, while they breathed avowed hosti- 
lity against the government of the Porte. The follow- 
ing year a firman arrived, conferring upon him the en- 
viable appomtment of Pasha of Djidda, and of the Port 
fin-ed on of Mecca, on the eastern shore of the Red Sea. On this 
^""- occasion he acceded so far as to assume the mantle and 

cap peculiar to his new office ; but the armj', prepared 
for the scene which ensued, flocked around liim, uttering 
the most seditious language, and threatening immediate 
violence if their arrears were not discharged. Moham- 
med alone could rule the elements in this furious tem- 
pest. He was intreated to take upon him the duties of 
Successful viceroy, — to save Eg}'pt from rebellion and bloodshed, — 
plot for being and to preserve, an unportant province to the Turkish 
viceor)'. empii'e. The wily Cavalliot seemed to be amazed at 
this proposal, and refused ; but m so faint a tone, that the 
petitioners were induced to repeat and urge stiU more 
strongly their request. He yielded at length to entreaties 
which he himself had suggested, accepted the insignia of 
office, and was proclaimed, by the shouts of his numerous 
adherents, the new representative of the sultan.* 

• Webster's Travels, vol. ii. p. 56. 


Kourschid Pasha, who was now in the capital, endea- chap, vil 

voured, by inviting the dangerous aid of the Mamlouks, oppolitTon 

to oppose tliis nomination. But, while he was making of Kourschid 

preparations to take the field against the usurper, the 

oapitan pasha unexpectedly cast anchor before Alexan- ^ ^ 
■■ , n 1 • . 1 1 • 1 ii- Intemiphon 

dna ; who forthwith sent orders to him to place the of liis plans. 

citadel in the hands of ]\Iohammed, and also to repair in 
person, without delay, to his head-quarters on the sea- 
coast. Kourschid obeyed, and, after a short period of 
service in other quarters of the Turkish empire, lost 
his life. 

The Mamlouks, who had been summoned to the Enmity of 
standard of the governor, were unwilling to lay down loukA. 
their arms until they should have once more tried the 
fortune of war against their old enemy the reigning 
pasha. The latt«r, who was contriving a snare for these 
turbulent horsemen, wished nothing more ardently than 
that they should attack him in Cairo ; nay, he suggested Secret plans 
to the sheiks, on whom he had the greatest reliance, to defeat. 
encourage the beys in their meditated assault, and even 
to promise them assistance should they resolve to enter 
tile city. These impetuous soldiers, reposing implicit 
faith in their pretended friends, seized the first opportu- 
nity of bursting in at one of the gates, which had been 
opened for the purpose of admitting some countrymen 
with their camels. Dividing their numbers into two Tiieir sue- 

CCSSftli GXC* 

parties, they advanced along the streets sounding their cution. 
martial instruments, and anticipating a complete tri- 
umph. But they soon discovered their mistake ; for, 
being attacked by the inhabitants on all sides, driven 
from post to post, and slaughtered without mercy, they 
Bustahied so severe a loss as from that moment to cease Severe loss. 
to be formidable. All the prisoners met the same fate ; 
and eighty-three heads were sent to Constantinople to 
grace the walls of the imperial seraglio. 

But the Sublime Porte, unwilHng that any one interest fi°e'§^biima 
should obtain the ascendency in Egypt, determined now Porte. 
to support the beys ; and accordingly a trusty pasha 
was despatched to Alexandria with mstructions to assist 





favour for 

for them. 



His complete 

Elfy, well kno\vn by his residence in. England, in his 
endeavours to assume the viceregal mantle, and thereby 
to depress the rising power of IMohammed. This envoy, 
upon his arrival at that port, sent a capidji-bashi to 
Cairo, summoning Ali to appear immediately in his pre- 
sence, assuring him that his master was ready to besto\^ 
upon him the government of Salonica. The latter chief- 
tain had too much knowledge of the policy usually pui-- 
sued in the divan to accept of such promotion. He asked 
those around him whether he would not show himself a 
fool and a craven, if, after having won the supreme sta- 
tion with only five hundred men at his disposal, he were 
to abandon his post to his enemies, now that he counted 
at his side fifteen hundred resolute countrjTnen and com- 
panions in arms. " Cairo is to be publicly sold !" he 
exclaimed ; — " whoever will give most blows of the 
sabre will win it, and remain master !" 

His demeanour towards the pasha was, at the same 
time, submissive and dutiful ; he regretted that the 
mutmous state of the army would not permit him to 
obey the summons of his highness, and to have the 
pleasure of showing how ready he was on all occasions 
to bow the knee before a representative of his imperial 
lord. But at this very moment he was plotting with 
the beys, and sending large sums of money to Constan- 
tinople, to secure friends on both sides of the Mediter- 
ranean. At length the sultan, finding that Ali could 
not be deposed, and perceiving hmiself on the eve 
of a war with Russia, forwarded secret orders to his 
agent to make the best terms he could with the usurper, 
and to leave him in possession of the viccroyalty. A 
short time after this occurrence, the regular diploma 
confirming him in his office was transmitted by the 
Porte ; and as Elfy Bey and Bardissy, the most power- 
ful of his enemies, died about the same period, he foimd 
himself the master of Egypt, invested with a legal title, 
and opposed by no one whom he had anj' reason to 
fear. To complete his conquest, indeed, he advanced 
into Upper Egypt to attack the Mamlouks. There he 


defeated a large bod}- of their troops, ana was preparing to chap. vn. 

follow them, in the hope of effecting their utter annilii- 

lation at least as a political body, when he received de- jiamiouks. 
spatches from Turkey announcing the commencement 
of hostilities between Great Britain and the Ottoman 

It was in the year 1807 that the English ministry sent w'a.r with 
a second expedition into Egj'pt, with the view of prevent- ^'''eat Britan. 
ing that country from falling again into the hands of the 
French, whose ambassador at Constantinople was under- 
stood to direct the politics of the grand seignior. The 
number of troops under the British general did not ex- 
ceed five thousand ; and it was entirely owing to the patai i^nor- 
ignorance of our government with regard to the amount '°<=s °^ 'he 

n . Untish tro- 

of the Turkish forces at Alexandria, and the strength as vemmerit. 
well as the disposition of the Mamlouks, that they ex- 
posed such a handful of men to certain destruction. The 
beys availed themselves of this opportunity to make 
their peace with Mohammed AH, and consented to follow 
his standard against the invaders, who had established a 
footing on their coast. The melancholy result is w-ellMeianciioiy 
known. Alexandria yielded to General Fraser after a'''=*"'^ 
smart encounter ; but, failing in his successive attempts 
on Rosetta and El Hamet, the flower of his little army 
was cut off, wounded, or taken prisoners. Four hundred 
and fifty of their heads were publicly exposed at Cairo, 
while the unfortunate captives were treated with every 
species of contempt and cruelty. 

The departure of the British allowed the pasha to^j^jfj^.^, 
devote his attention to the internal affairs of his turbu- position of 
lent province. As he rehed chiefly upon the amiy, he ^ ^"^ ^' 
had increased its numbers till the expense of maintain- 
ing it emptied his coffers, and compelled him, in order to 
replenish them, to resort to measures of extreme severity. 
He felt that his popularity was endangered ; and being 
convinced that the Mamlouks would embrace the first 
opportunity of attempting to precipitate him from the 

• Webster's Travels, vol. ii. p. 67. 




Plan for anni- 
hilaring the 

of the 


viceregal throne, he resolved upon theii* final destruction, 
at whatever expense of candour or humanity. Tliis 
horrible determination, it has been conjectured, was con- 
firmed by the necessity imposed upon him of conducting 
the Avar against the Wahabees in Arabia, — an under- 
taking in which he could not engage without employing 
in that country his best troops and commanders. The 
Porte had urged him to prepare for this expedition, so 
important to the purity of the faith and the integrity of 
the empire ; and rewarded him, beforehand, by confer- 
ring upon his favourite son, Toussoun, the dignity of a 
pasha of the second order. 

This youth had by his father been appointed general 
of the army which was destmed to serve in Arabia. The 
1st da}" of March 1811 was named for the investiture 
of the new chief, — a ceremony which was to take place 
in the citadel. The Mamlouks were invited to share in 
the parade and festivities of the occasion ; and accord- 
ingly, under the command of Chahyn Bey and ai-rayed 
in their most splendid uniform, they appeared at the hall 
of audience, and offered to the pasha their hearty con- 
gratulations. Mohammed received them with the great- 
est affability. They were presented with coffee, and he 
directed his conversation to theni individually Avith ap- 
parent openness of heart and serenity of countenance. 

The procession was ordered to move from the citadel 
along a passage cut out in the rock ; the pasha's troops 
marcliing first, followed by the IMamlouk corps mounted 
as usual. As soon, however, as they had passed the gate, 
it was shut behind them, wliile the opposite end of the 
defile being also closed, they were caught as it were in a 
trap. Soldiers had been ordered to the top of the rocks, 
where they were perfectly secure fiom any shot that 
might be aimed against them, while they poured down 
volleys upon their defenceless victims, who were butch- 
ered almost to a man. Some of them, indeed, succeeded 
in taking refuge in the pasha's harem, and in the house 
of Toussoun ; but they were all dragged forth, conducted 
before the kiaja bey, and beheaded on the spot. The 


lifeless body of the brave Chahyn was exposed to every CHAP. Aai 
iiifaray ; a rope being passed round the neck, the bloody Barbarous 
carcass was dragged through various parts of the city, proceedings. 
Mengin, who was in Cairo at the time, assures his read- 
ere that the streets during two whole days bore the ap- 
pearance of a place taken by assault. Every kind and Violent 
degree of violence was committed under pretence of ^^'^*^'^'- 
searching for the devoted Mamlouks ; and it was not 
until five liundred houses wei'e sacked, much valuable 
property destroyed, and many lives lost, that AH and 
his son ventured out of the citadel to repress the popular 

Mohammed, not without satisfaction, counted among Nmnber 
the slain four hundred and seventy of those gallant of victims. 
horsemen, besides their attendants who usually served 
on foot. The number sacrificed did not in the end fall 
short of a thousand ; for orders were given to pursue 
this devoted race into the remotest parts of the country, 
and, if possible, to exterminate them throughout tlie 
whole pashalic. The heads of the principal officers were 
embahned, and sent as an acceptable present to the sul- 
tan at Constantinople. Only one of the beys, whose Escape of 
name was Amim, is understood to have escaped the mas- -Ammi Bey. 
sacre in Cairo. Being detained by business, he was too 
Lite to occupy his proper place in the procession, and he 
only arrived In the citadel at the moment when the 
troops were passmg the gate. He waited till they had 
entered the fatal pas&age, mtending afterwards to join 
his own troop ; but seeing the pirtal suddenly closed, and 
hearing, almost immediately after, the discharge of fire- 
arms, he put spurs to his ho)-se and galloped out of the 
city. He afterwards retired with a small suite into 
the neighbouring provinces of Syria. 

It is impossible to refrain from condemning the cruel Estimate 
and faithless conduct of Mohammed on this memorable of the deed 
occasion. He may have received orders from Constan- 

• Histoire de I'Efrjrpte sous le Gouvernement de Mohammed Aii, 
par M. Felix Mengin, &c. tome i. pp. 363, *■ 5. 


CHAP. VII. tinople to annihilate those ambitious and turbulent sol- 
diers, who acknowledged no master but their own chief, 
and no laws except such as suited their licentious habits. 

Shameless But it is difficult, notwithstanding, to find an apology 

ireacherj'. for the deliberate cold-hearted treachery which disgraced 
the execution of the imperial mandate. So little com- 
punction, too, did he feel, when reflecting on the occur- 
rence, that, we are told by Slengin, on being informed 
he was reproached by all travellers in their narratives 

All's defence, for this inhuman massacre, he replied that he would 
have a picture of it painted together with one of the 
murder of the Due d'Engliien, and leave to posterity 
what judgment it might pass on the two events. This 

Its futility, retort might silence a Frenchman who had followed the 
standard of Bonaparte, but it goes only a very little way 
to remove the impression of abhoiTence which must be 
retained by every heart not altogether insensible to those 
eternal distinctions whereon all moral judgments must 
be founded.* 

* For a striking account of the massacre of the JIamlouks, see 
" Life and Adventures of Giovanni Finati," vol. i. p. 101, &c. He 
varies in a few particulars from the narrative of IMengin. although 
in the essential points there is no material difference. The beys, 
he tells us, were not assembled to grace the reception of the Pelisse 
by the young pasha, but to consult with the viceroy about the ap- 
proaching war with the Arabian schismatics ; and Mengin himself 
relates that Toussoun was not invested with the ensigns of his office 
till more than a month afterwards. The chief, too, called Chahvn 
by the latter author, is by Finati denominated Sai'm. — an example 
of the discrepancy which arises from the practice adopted by travel- 
lers in Egypt of spelling according to the pronunciation of their re- 
spective countries. 

It is remarkable that the Frenchman should have omitted an 
anecdote of Amim Bey. which made a great noise at the tnne, and 
was repeated to I\Ir W. Bankes by that officer himself when he met 
him at a subsequent period in Syria. ■" This chief, who was brother 
to the celebrated EIfy, urged the noble animal which he rode to an 
act of greater desperation, for he spurred him till he made him 
clamber upon the rampart, and preferring rather to be dastied to 
pieces than to be slaughtered in cold blood, drove him to leap down 
the precipice, a height that has been estimated at from thirty to 
forty feet, or even more ; yet fortune so favoured him. that, though 
the horse was killed, the rider escaped." — Finati. 1 10. 

Sir F. Henniker says of him, " his horse leaped over the parapet 


Mohammed AH was now at liberty to devote his at- chap. vii. 
tention to the state of things in Arabia, whither his son, campaipn 
the young pasha, had been sent to command the army. '" Arabia. 
His campaign had already been crowned with several 
successes against the Wahabees ; he had taken the city 
of Medina, the keys of which his father liad sent to the 
Porte, with large presents of money, jewels, coffee, and 
other valuable articles. The viceroy himself now thought 
it time to pay his devotions at the shrine of Mecca, and 
accordingly made a voyage across the Red Sea. At Treachery 
Djidda he was received with all kindness and hospitality ^' i)Ji''da. 
by the Shereef Ghaleb ; in return for which, to gratify 
either his avarice or his political suspicion, he gave secret 
orders to Toussoun to seize and convey him to Cairo. 
Meanwhile he plundered the palace of immense trea- pintirierof 
sures, part of which he applied to the support of the *^^ Palace. 
anny, and part he shared with liis master the sultan ; 
but the latter, on understanding the manner in which 
these splendid gifts had been acquired, had honesty 
enough to return them to then- owner through the 
viceroy himself. 

The various occurrences of the Arabian war are not Arabian war 
af sufficient interest to the general reader to warrant a 
minute detail. Suffice it to observe, that under the 
direction of the young cliief, the Egyptian army suffered 
considerable reverses, and was not a little reduced both 
in number and spirit wlicn Mohammed Ali himself as- 
sumed the command. His presence in the camp imme- Personal 
diately restored discipline and confidence to such a degree ■"fl"«'nc8 
that the troops longed for an opportunity to revenge theh 
losses in the field, and, if possible, to bring the contest to 
the issue of a general action. Their wishes in this re- 
spect were soon gratified ; for the enemy, who had begun 
to despise the invaders, and even to pour upon them the 
most insolent and opprobrious language, were easily in- 
like leaping out of a four pair of stairs vrindovr. The horse was 
killed. The bey intrusted himself to some Arabs (Albanians ac- 
cordinfT to Finati), who, notwithstanding the offer of a large reward, 
would not dehver him up." P. t-J4. 


CHAP. VIL duced to relinquish tiieir position, where they could nwt 
have been attacked, and to meet the pasha on equal 
ground, where he could hardly foil to secure a decisive 
Battle of victory. The battle of Basille terminated the campaign 
Basiiie. ^f 18]o, and opened up to the conqueror a flattering 

view of ultimate success. But disease found its way into 
his ranks ; the Albanians were fatigued and disgusted 
with a war of posts against barbarians still more savage 
than tliemselves ; and they did not conceal from tlie 
Claim of the pasha that they expected to be relieved, and allowed to 
Albanians, ggg], f^j. health on the banks of the Nile. This politic 
ruler knew his countrymen too well to resist their in- 
clinations in a matter so closely connected witli their 
feelings ; he acknowledged the justice of their claim ; 
assured them that he also meant to return to Cairo ; and 
proceeded instantly to make arrangements for carrying 
his plan into execution. 
Attention The military experience which Mohammed had ac- 

tacttcs.'*'^^ quired when opposed to European armies, convinced him 
of the necessity of improving the tactics of his Turks 
and Arabs. For tliis purpose he employed several French 
soldiers, who had deserted during the expedition under 
Bonaparte, to introduce the new system ; and imme- 
diately a regular course of drilling was begun, and en- 
forced, too, with a severity that only tended to exaspe- 
rate the feelings of the men, and to ripen projects of 
Aversion to resistance and revenge. From the very first the native 
discipline of troops regarded this discipline with tlie utmost jealousy 
troops. and aversion, as a direct invasion of the rights and liber- 

ties of their profession. Their resentment soon burst 
forth against the subaltern officers, wliom they assassi- 
nated in the streets, and even on parade. This, howe\-er, 
far from deten-ing the government, only led to higlier 
Firmness of <^<?grees of constraint and compulsion, till at length tlie 
the govern- odium which had ceased to attach itself to the mere in- 
struments of the experiment, extended to the highest 
authorities, and even to the ruler himself. If we ritust 
have the French discipline, said the discontented, let us 
carry the French system a little farther, and let us liave 


our revolution too. Accordingly, upon a day previousl}' chap. VTL 
fixed, — the 4th August 1815, — all the troops in the QeneraT 
neighbourhood of Cairo broke out into open mutiny and mutiny and 
revolt, with the professed purpose of plundering the city, ^®^° 
and putting the viceroy to death. After falling upon 
such of the officers as had escaped the violence directed 
against them individually, they marched towards the 
citadel in a formidable body ; and, had not the pillage 
of the bazars attracted tlieir attention in the first in- 
stanc. , the chiefs of the government, who were quite 
unprepared for the attack, could hardly have found an 
asylum from their rage. 

The pasha fortunately was not in the citadel, but in Good fortuna 
one of his palaces which stands in a large open square, °^ "^® pasiia. 
near the European division of the capital. More mind- 
ful of the Franks than of his own welfare, he sent to 
them, upon the breaking out of the disturbance, five 
hundred muskets, with ammunition sufficient to serve 
the purpose of defence. Meanwhile, it being taken for 
granted that he was in the fortress, no search was made 
for him elsewhere ; though he had to endure many bitter 
hours of suspense, galled as he must have been by the 
ingratitude of his anny, and liable every moment to be 
dragged fortli to destruction. He was at length extri- p-j^giif^. ^f 
cated from his perilous situation by the fidelity and Abdim'Uey. 
courage of Abdim Bey, an Albanian, bi'otner to Hassan 
Pasha, whom he had left in the command of the Arabian 
army. This officer bore a particular attachment to his 
pei-son ; and liaving drawn together about three hundred 
of his own nation who had continued loyal, went to the 
palace where he was concealed, placed liim under this 
faithful escort, and forced a passage to the citadel, where 
he was lodged in perfect security. 

This took place late in the evening of that day of Excesses of 
confusion and terror ; and when it was discovered that ^^'^ soldiery, 
the pasha had been so long within their reach, disap- 
pointment exasperated the soldiers to fresh excesses, and 
a renewal of the pillage. Before morning ]\Iohammed 
bad proclaimed a general amnesty, on condition that the 







Extent and 
secrecy of 
Uie plot. 

ment of 

troops should return to their duty, pledging hunself, at 
the same time, that the obnoxious system should be dis- 
continued, and promising to the merchants and inhabi- 
tants who had been pillaged a full compensation for 
their losses. This declaration produced the desired ef- 
fect, and Cairo was immediately restored to a state of 
tranquillity and peace ; while the gi'eat number of indi- 
viduals who, he had reason to suspect, were implicated 
in the guilt of disaffection, rendered it prudent in hia 
highness to adhere strictly to the terms of the pardon 
which he had announced. 

It could hardly be doubted that, in a rising of this 
nature, where there was evidently so much of concert 
and secrecy, there must have been some prime mover, 
possessing weight and influence among the soldiers ; and 
hence no pams were spared by the government in order 
to obtain infonnation. Giovanni Finati, who was him- 
self an actor in the scene which he describes, asserts, 
that no clew Avas ever obtained which could lead to a 
discovery of the principal msurgents. But Belzoni, who 
was in Egypt at the same period, remarks, that there 
was reason to think the pasha knew who the chief in- 
stigators were, for it was found that several persons 
shortly after " died of sudden deaths, and, indeed, many 
of the chiefs and beys disappeared."* 

No attempt appears to have been made, for some time 
after the failure now described, to introduce the Euro- 
pean discipline. In the year 1821, when Sir F. Henni- 
ker was at Grand Cairo, the old system prevailed, and 
is amusingly exposed in the following description : — 
" Saw the infantry (Albanians) mustered. An attempt 
to drill these lawless ragamuffins occasioned the last 
insurrection, — no marching and counter-marching, — no 
playing at soldiers. They, however, suffer themselves 
to be drawn up in line to listen to the music, if such it 
may be called when produced by drums and squeaking 
Moorish fifes in the hands of Turks ; a number of voices 

" Life and Adventures of GioTanni Finati, vol. ii. p. 71. Bel- 
zoni's Narrative, vol. ii. p. 9. 


frequently chimed in, and destroyed the monotony ; chap, vil 
during this the soldiers were quiet. It is nearly impos- ^^^^^^^ 
sible to distinguish officers from privates ; every man soldiers, 
provides himself with clothes and arms according to his 
means ; there is only this family likeness among them, 
that pistols, swords, and a shirt, outwardly exhibited, 
are necessary. An Albanian is not improved since the 
time of Alexander ; he is still a soldier and a robber. 
Ibrahim Pasha having, as he says, conquered the Waha- Triumpii oi 
bees, made his triumphal entry this morning ; first came Ibrahim 
tlie cavalry, — horses of all sizes, ages, colours, and qua- 
lities ; an Arab Fellah attendant upon each soldier car- 
ried a musket; every soldier carried — a pipe; occasionally 
the prelude of a kettle-drum, hammered monotonously 
with a short leathern strap, announced a person of con- 
sequence : the consequence consisted in eight or nine 
dirty Arabs carrying long sticks, and screaming tumul- 
tuously ; then came the infantry, a long straggling line 
of Albanians ; then a flag ; then a long pole sunnounted 
by a gilt ball ; from this suspended a flowing tail of 
horse-hair ; then a second flag, a second tail, a third 
flag, and the pasha's third tail ; the victor covered with 
a white satin gown, and a high conical cap of the same 
military material : this Caesar looked like a sick girl 
coming from the bath. The mobility closed this Hudi- 
brastic triumph. Having traversed the town, they 
vented their exultation in gunpowder. The Turkish 
soldiers, whether in fun or earnest, always fire with 
ball ; and on a day of rejoicuig it commonly happens 
that several are killed : these accidents fall in general on 
the Franks."* 

In relating the triumph of Ibrahim, we have some- pie^non* 
what anticipated the course of events. His brother events. 
Toussoun had some time before fallen the victim of 
poison or disease, whence arose the necessity of appoint- 
ing a new commander of equal rank to carry on that 
war, already waged so long and with so little success, 

* Notes during a Visit, &c By Sir Frederick Henniker, p. 66. 






Ardour and 

Success of 
tiie fanatics. 

against the heretics of Derayeh, More than a century 
had passed since Abdul Wahab, the Socinus of the Mos- 
lems, disturbed the belief of the faithful by certain inno- 
vations in their doctrine respecting the character and 
offices of the Prophet. The austerity of his life drew 
around him a great number of followers ; and at length, 
finding himself sufficiently strong to brave the power of 
the provincial governors, he attacked, without any re- 
serve, the rank idolatry of the wonted pilgrimages to 
the tomb of INIohammed, and the absurdity of putting 
anytnist in relics, ablutions, or any outward ceremo- 
nies. He inculcated the principles of pure deism, and 
reduced the whole duty of man, as a religious being, to 
prayer and good works. 

Had he confined the objects of his mission to articles 
of faith or new modes of piety, it is not probable that 
the Ottoman Porte would have disturbed him in the 
exercise of his vocation. But as he found the vise of 
arms necessary to convince hardened sceptics, as well as 
to destroy tne monuments of their idolatry, he permit- 
ted the zeal of liis followers to display iteelf in mUitaiy 
ardour, and in the formation of disciplined bands. On 
one occasion his successor advanced into Persia at the 
head of 20,000 men, resolving to 'capture the city of 
Kirbeleh, and to lay waste the tomb of Hassan, the son 
of Ali, and grandson of the Prophet. The spirit of per- 
secution breathed in all his actions ; the inhabitants were 
put to the sword ; and the sepulchre, — a favourite place 
of pilgrimage among the Persians, — was plundered and 

In short, a dynasty of these fanatical warriors had 
established itself on the throne of Derayeh. In the be- 
ginning of the present century Abdelazcez, the son of 
Abdul, was murdered bj' a native of Ivirbeleh, to revenge 
the indignities committed upon the holy tomb, — an 
event which was followed by a renewal of hostility and 
the shedding of much blood. His successor, Sehood, 
began his career of retaliation by directing the power of 
his arms against Bassora and Irak. The Shereef of 


Mecca, who took the field in order to check his progress, chap. vii. 
was defeated in every battle, and compelled to sue for oefe^Tof 
peace. But no sooner were terms concluded than the tije sueieef 
Wahabite, at the head of 40,000 men, marched to Me- °' ^^'"''^''• 
dina, which was obliged to open its gates ; when, fol- 
lowing up his success, he proceeded to Mecca, where he 
met with as little opposition. At the former city he or- 
dered the tomb of the Prophet to be opened, whence he gpgii ^f ,iig 
abstracted the numerous jewels, consisting of diamonds, Prophet's 
pearls, rubies, and emeralds, which had been long vene- 
rated by the pious disciples of the Koran. He melt- 
ed the golden vessels, the chandeliere, and vases, and, 
having exposed the whole to public sale, distributed the 
money among liis soldiers. Tliis act of daring sacrilege 
excited against him the indignation of every Mussulman 
who had not thrown off all reverence for the founder of 
his religion ; while liis military resources, employed 
with so much vigour, did not fail to alarm the govern- 
ment at Constantinople, who immediately sent orders 
to the Viceroy of Eg}^t to chastise the presumptuous 
heretic, and deliver the holy city from his arms. 

But the success which finally attended the expedition source of 
of Mohammed Ali was owing to the death of Sehood final succesa 
rather than to the bravery or skill of the Turkish gene- 
rals. The Wahabite chief was succeeded by his son 
Abdallah, who possessed neither talent nor courage equal 
to the arduous duties which he was called upon to dis- 
charge. Failing in a vain attempt at negotiation, he 
allowed himself to be besieged in his capital, which, 
after a feeble defence during three months, he was 
obliged to surrender, together with his own personal li- 
berty. He was sent to Constantinople, where he was pate of 
first exposed to the execration and contempt of the po- Abdailali. 
pulace, and then deprived of his head like a common 
malefiictor. Ibrahim is remembered as tlie scourge of 
Arabia, and the curse of Derayeh. His father, m a mo- 
ment of passion against the Wahabees, had threatened to 
destroy their city, so that one stone of it should not be 
left upon another, — a menace which was executed to the 


Cmelties of 

spirit of 

of European 

ance of the 


fullest extent. Tlie inhabitants who escaped the sword 
were chased into the desert, where many of them 
perished ; meantime the victorious commander returned 
in triumph to Cairo, in the manner described by Sir 
Frederick Heuniker. 

But the severity of Ibrahim did not put an end to the 
Wahabite reformation, nor to the spuit of resistance by 
which its abettors were animated. On the contrary, the 
war was renewed in 1824 with as much ferocity as ever, and 
apparently with increased means on the part of the insur- 
gents of bringing it to a successful issue. It was protracted 
during the three followmg years with alternate advan- 
tage ; havmg been, in the latter portion of that interval, 
allowed to slumber, owing to the struggle made by the 
Greeks to recover their liberty. The particulars of the 
several campaigns are given with considerable minute- 
ness by Planat, who held an office under the Viceroy of 
Egypt, and who took upon himself to write the history 
of the " Regeneration" which that remarkable person- 
age has effected in the kingdom of the Pharaohs. Suffice 
it to observe, that it was m a succession of battles with 
the Wahabees that ]\Iohammed Ali first derived advantage 
from his improved system of tactics. His infantry, dis- 
iplined by French officers, and instructed in the Euro- 
pean method of movmg large masses in the field, proved 
decidedly superior in every conflict where the nature of 
the ground permitted a military evolution.* 

It may be inferred from the statement just made, that 
the viceroy was not deterred by the tumult at Cairo 
from resummg at a proper time tlie plan he had already 
matured for introducing into his army the drill of 
modern Europe. Aware of the obstinacy which cha- 
racterizes the Albanians, he left them to be shamed out 
of their awkward and inefficient system by witnessing 
the improvement of the other troops ; resolving to put 
his experiment to the test on the Fellalis of Egypt, and 

• Histoire de la Repeneration de I'Eofvpte. Par Jules Planat, 
ancien Officier de I'Artillerie de la Garde Imperiale, et chef d'litat- 
Major au service du Pacha d'Egypte. Geneve, 1830, p. 238. 


on the still more unsophisticated natives of Sennaar and chap. 'sii. 
Kordofan. With this view, as well as to reduce the Expedition 
remoter provinces of the upper country to his obedience, airainst tiie 
he fitted out, in 1820, an expedition which he placed country. 
under the command of his son Ishmael, whom he charged 
with instructions for accomplishing the double pui-pose 
now stated. The success of the young general fulfilled 
the expectations of his aspiring relative. Thousands of 
captives were sent from the conquered districts to the 
neighbourhood of Es Souan, where they were formed 
into battalions, and subjected to all the restraint and 
fatigue of European discipline. 

We are told that these unhappy beings were in the Treatment 
first place vaccinated, and that, as soon as they recovered recrmtl 
from this factitious distemper, they were put into the 
hands of French officers to be instructed in the manual 
exercise and other military arts, according to the latest 
institutions of the Bonapartean school. The hopes of First disap- 
the pasha were at first greatly disappointed in these PO"it™enic 
black troops. They were indeed strong and able-bodied, 
and not unwilling to be taught ; but when attacked by 
disease, which soon broke out in the camp, they died 
like sheep infected with the rot. The medical men 
ascribed the mortality to moral rather than to physical 
causes. It appeai-ed in numerous instances that, ha^/ing Fearful 
been snatched away from their houses and families, they mor'Ji'ify- 
were even anxious to get rid of life ; and so numerous 
were the deaths which ensued that, out of 20,000 of 
these unfortunate persons, three thousand did not remaia 
alive at the end of two years. 

But nothing could shake the determination of the Determina- 

vicerov. He placed five hundred faithful Mamlouks tionoftho 

*" ■*■ viceroy. 

under the charge of Colonel Seve, formerly aide-de-camp 

to Marshal Ney, who were trained to fulfil the duties of 
officers. As the blacks, for the reasons already men- 
tioned, were found unfit for this laborious service, he Xew con- 
impressed, according to the rules of a national conscrip- scnption. 
tion, about thirty thousand Arabs and peasants, whom 
he sent under a military guard to Upper Egypt. Planat 




P.iy of 

CHAP VII informs us, that in 1827 twelve regiments were orga- 
nized, tolerably well clothed in a plain uniform, and 
armed after the manner of European soldiers ; and as 
it is intended that every regiment shaU consist of five 
battalions of eight hundred men, the military establish- 
ment, in infantry alone, will amount to about fifty thou- 
sand. There are, besides, several corps of cavalry, artil- 
lery, and even marmes ; which last are stationed at Alex- 
andria, to serve on board the ships of war whenever it 
may be necessary to meet an enemy at sea. 

The colonels of regiments are extremely well paid, 
having allo^vances which amount to not less than £1500 
a-year. Their dress, too, is very rich, consisting of red 
cloth, covered with gold lace, and a cluster of diamonds, 
in the form of a half-moon, on each breast. Over this 
they wear, on state occasions, a scarlet pelisse, which 
fastens over the body with two large clasps of gold set 
with emeralds. Their upper dress is closed with a sash ; 
and the Turkish full trousers have given way to a more 
convenient habiliment, which is tied under the knee, and 
fitted to the legs like gaiters. The pay of the non-com- 
missioned officers is likewise ample ; and that of the men 
eighteen piastres a-month, with full rations of good pro- 
visions, and their clothmg. They are now content, and 
even attached to the service ; while a considerable spirit 
of emulation prevails among them, excited ia a great 
measure by the impartial manner in which promotion 
from the ranks is bestowed, according to the merit of 
the candidates. Nor are the men any longer liable to 
arbitrary punishment. Every one committing a fault 

Pnnishment must be tried before he can be bastinadoed, and generally 
some other penalty is inflicted, such as confinement, de- 
gradation, or hard labour. The officers, again, when 
they forget their duty or their character, are placed under 
arrest ; and even the viceroy himself does not pretend 
to decide as to their guilt, but leaves the result to the 
award of justice, regulated by martial law. 

Tlie superiority of troops prepared for the field accord- 
ing to the European metliod was, as we have already 


I'ay of the 


stated, most distinctly manifested in the several cam- chap. VIL 
paigns which they served against the Wahabees, — a cir- success" 
cumstance which afforded to Mohammed a degree of against the 
delight almost beyond expression. This first step m the '^^'"I'^^ees, 
improvement of an art, valuable above all others to a 
governor placed in the position which he occupies, was 
due almost entirely to Colonel Seve, whose name has colonel 
been already mentioned. This able officer encountered ^"^^"^ 
much opposition from the barbarians whom he was ap- 
pomted to superintend ; but, with the tact which belongs 
to a man who has inspected society in all its forms, he 
subdued the ferocity of the savage by assuming a tone 
more commanding than that of mere animal courage. 
The Mamlouks were occasionally so discontented as to Courase ar.d 
threaten liis life ; but he never lost his firmness ; and, ^1"™°®^*- 
by oflFering to meet single-handed those who conspired 
against his authority, he gained the respect which is 
always lavished by untutored minds upon fearless hardi- 
hood, and at length became a favourite among all classes 
of the military. Planat tells us that on one occasion, 
when a volley was fired, a ball whizzed past the ear of 
Seve. Without the slightest emotion, he commanded Cocii seif- 
the party to reload their pieces. " You are very bad possession. 
marksmen," he exclaimed ; — " Make ready, — fire !" 
They fired, but no ball was heard. The self-possession 
of the Frenchman disarmed their resentment ; they 
thought him worthy of admiration ; and at length were 
ready to acknowledge that, in point of acquirement and 
professional experience, he was decidedly a better man 
than themselves.* He afterwards fell while serving in 

The invasion of the \ipper provinces, by the army invasion 
under the command of Ishmael, belongs to the history £„y^[[" 
of Nubia rather than to that of Egypt ; for which reason 
we shall not enter into its details at present farther than 
to state that, owing to an insult inflicted upon one of 
the native chiefs, this favourite son of Mohammed Ali 

• HisSoire de la Regeneration, p. 28. 



CHAP, vn. 

Death of 

Revenge of 

War in liie 

in Greece 
and S>"ria. 

Pa;?lia of 

Siege of Acre 

^A'as cut oflF by a most miserable death. The cottage in 
which he and his personal attendants had taken up their 
quarters was surrounded with a mass of combustible 
materials, and burnt to the ground ; no one escaping 
through the flames except the physician, who was re- 
served for more protracted suffering. Ibrahim, the con- 
queror of Derayeh, avenged in some degree the murder 
of his brother, and even extended the dominion of the 
Egyptian arms into districts which neither the Persians 
nor the Romans had ventured to penetrate. But the 
affairs of Greece, which began to occupy the fuU attention 
of the Porte, supplied a new theatre for the military 
talent of his lieutenant, who, at the command of his 
father, withdrew his troops from the deserts of Dongola 
and Kordofan to transport them to the more sanguinary 
fields of the j\Iorea. 

It belongs not to this nan-ative to record even inci- 
dentally the events of the war to which we have just 
referred ; nor perhaps is it more incumbent upon us to 
describe the occurrences which at a later period marked 
the progress of hostilities in Syria. There is, however, 
this difference in the two undertakings, namely, that in 
the foi-mer the Viceroy of Egypt fought under the ban- 
ners of liis imperial master ; whereas in the other case 
he sent forth his armies against him. 

In the year 1832, Abdallah, the pasha of Acre, gave 
offence to Mohammed by receiving into his service cer- 
tain discontented Arabs who had deserted the Egyptian 
flag. The latter, who was not unwilling to find a pre- 
text for a quarrel with his restless neighbour, sent Ibra- 
him against him at the head of a powerful army. As 
tlie sultan had not been consulted in these proceedings 
by either of his lieutenants, he no sooner heard that 
Acre was besieged, tlian he issued a firman, comraand- 
hig both of them to lay down their arms. In particular, 
positive orders were sent to the government of Cairo to 
withdraw tlie invading troops from Syria, and commis- 
sioners were at the same time despatched thither to en- 
force the injunctions of the divan. But these instruc- 


tions were not regarded by either of the belligerent CHAP.vii. 
parties ; and tlie Grand Seignior, accordmgly, doubting jninZ^on 
the fidelity of his ambitious vassal, directed armies to oi the sultan. 
marcli and fleets to be equipped, in order to chastise him 
as a rebel. jMohammed treated these menaces with con- 
tempt, and in defiance of them proceeded to mature his 
plans for realizing the two great objects of the cam- 
paign, — the humiliation of his rival and the extension of 
Ills own power along the eastern shore of the Mediter- 

The Egyptian army, which amounted to about fifty Success of 
thousand men, had already reduced the important towns ^'''^ Egyptian 
of Gaza, Jaffa, and Caiffa ; but Acre, where Abdallah 
commanded in person, made a successful resistance dur- 
ing several months against all the efforts of his enemy 
by land and by sea. Expecting that relief would be 
Bent by the Porte, he refused to surrender the place, EesoUite 

though battered to a mass of ruins. A Turkish force, ^^f'J^f*, 
■ 11 /-111 Abdallali. 

indeed, under a leader named Osman, had advanced to 

Tripoli, but upon hearing that part of Ibrahim's troops 
were movmg to attack him, he sought safety in a hasty 
flight, leaving behind his ammunition, artillery, and 
provisions. Disappointed in this aid, the governor of 
Acre found it necessary to listen to terms of accommo- 
dation, and, in the mouth of May, opened his gates to 
the besiegers. 

Aware that he had now provoked the utmost resent- indepcnd 
ment of the sultan, the viceroy, instead of soliciting for- vrceroy. 
giveness, resolved to set his power at defiance ; and, ac- 
cordingly, having reinforced the army, he gave orders to 
his son to march upon Damascus. He arrived there on Assault of 
the 14th June, and found under its walls a consider- iJ'>m"scua. 
able force, cavalry as well as infantry ; but the terror of 
liis name threw such dismay into their ranks, tliat they 
fled on the first attack, leaving the city an easy prey 
to the conquerors. Having i-efreshed his troops, Ibra- 
him pushed on to Aleppo without encountering any re- 
sistance ; nor was it till lie had encamped on the banks 
of tlie Orontes that he perceived tlie enemy had formed 




Battle of 


Motives for 


The Grand 



a resolution to check his progress. At the village of 
Homs, twenty thousand men were assembled under a 
Turkish general, prepared to risk the chance of a battle 
rather than allow the whole of Syria to fall under the do- 
minion of Mohammed. The governor of the jirovince, 
who assumed the chief command, led his followers to the 
onset with an air of much detennination ; but finding 
that his undisciplmed bands, unequal to the duties of 
regular warfare, could not keep the field against the 
veteran soldiers of his adversary, he retired with great 
loss of life, as weU as of cannon, ammunition, and pro- 

When the Egyptian leader aiTived at Antioch, he was 
informed that Hassan Pasha, at the head of thirty thou- 
sand warriors, had taken his station at Beilan to guard 
the passes which penetrate Mount Taurus. Undeterred 
by such preparations, the invader resolved to make an 
attack on the Turkish lines ; being desirous to establish 
himself in Caramania, where he had no doubt the Sultan 
would be ready to listen to such terms as he might deem 
it expedient to propose for the settlement of their affairs. 
The policy of this measure was proved by the result. 
Advancing with a powerful train of artillery, he soon 
silenced the batteries opposed to him, and nishing on 
the foe, already stunned by his success, he drove them 
from the heights at the point of the bayonet. The army 
of Hassan was rather dispersed than subdued, though no 
exertions on his part could collect more than one-tliird 
of the fugitives, even after the pursuit had ceased. 

No obstacle now remained to prevent the victor from 
scaling that vast barrier which protects the empire of the 
Osmanlis on its eastern border. The Porte therefore 
determined to make one great effort to stop the progress 
of the enemy ; and, with this view, a force amounting to 
sixty thousand men was placed under the direction of 
the Grand Vizier hunself, who immediately commenced 
a movement in search of his antagonist. The two hosts 
met on the 21st December 1832, when a conflict ensued, 
which, after a sanguinary struggle, terminated in the 


complete defeat of the Turks. On both sides the slaughter chap, vii 
Avas prodigiously great ; but the vizier, who was wounded xotafdefeat 
and taken prisoner, saw himself, towards the close of of the Turks. 
the day, entirely deprived of an army, most of his men 
who had escaped the sword having either fled or joined 
the standard of Egypt. 

The triumph acliieved at Koniah would probably interposition 
have thrown Constantinople into the hands of the con- ° ^^*"'" 
queror, had not Russia interposed to ward off an event 
which might at once have proved fatal to the Ottoman 
sovereignty. But although Ibrahim found it expedient 
to withdraw his victorious battalions from Caramania, 
and to relinquish all the advantages he had gained be- 
yond Mount Taurus, he was allowed, in the name of his 
father the viceroy, to retain all the conquests he had Favourable 
made in the Syrian provinces. Attached to the Euro- g'i-^ted to 
peans, though not blind to the objects which occupy the the vicenjif 
deUberations of their several cabinets, tlie Egyptian 
pasha, it was manifest, would become a powerful ally 
to any aspiring government situated near tlie shores of 
the MediteiTauean which should be induced to under- 
take the conquest of Turkey. Hence ai'ose the media- 
tion of the czar, who did not fail to perceive that the 
success of a rebellious vassal on the Nile might endanger 
the peace and even disturb the boundaries of the prin- 
cipal nations on the Continent. 

But Mohammed Ali has not confined his conquests to Extent of 
the Syrian provinces and the Holy Land. He has also ^oif uesti'^ ' 
conquered and occupied with his troops the whole line 
of the Arabian coast, from Akaba on the north, to Mocha, 
near the Straits of Babelmandeb at the southern extre- 
mity of the Red Sea. It is true that, with the excep- possession oi 
tion of Mecca and the fertile district of Taif, eastward of t^'^ "'x^^- 
Djidda, his dominion does not extend above two miles 
fi'om the seashore ; but his soldiers garrison all the chief 
towns and ports on the margm of the Arabian gulf, from 
the isthmus of Suez down to the waters of the Indian 
ocean. Owing to his possessing these places, the pasha 
commands the whole commerce of Yemen and the Hed- 


CHAP. VII. jaz, the two principal provinces in that country. He 

. , ~~ has not vet extended his arms into the fertile district of 
Advantages •' /.r-i i-i_-j.i_ 

from his Senna, — an instance of forbearance which is not to be 

conquests, ascribed to any feeling of justice or moderation on his 
KiTAs^eiu P^^'*-' ^^* entirely to the courage of the Aseers, a Bedouin 
tribe, who have hitherto nobly defended the independ- 
ence of their native land. 
Defeat of the In the campaign of 1835, the Eg3T)tian army, under 
a™y'"*° *^^® command of the younger Ibrahim, the viceroy's 
nephew, was repeatedly defeated by those warlike bar- 
barians, and driven back with great loss. Irritated by 
these disasters, the pasha made extensive preparations 
for the following year ; determined to subdue an iindis- 
Indignation ciplined horde who had mflicfed disgrace upon troops 
of the pasha, before whom the legions of the sultan had not been able 
to make a successful stand. He formed several corps 
d'artnee at Gonfode, Djidda, and Mecca, which advanced 
against the Aseers immediately after the ceremonies 
of the annual pilgrimage were concluded. But the 
difficulties which his commanders had to encounter 
could not be overcome by discipline, nor by any of the 
usual resources of civilized warfare. Hunger, thirst, 
Effects of the ^^^ intolerable heat, were more foiTnidable than the 
cUmate. arrows of the Bedouins, and proved more fatal to the 

soldiers. When suffering under the most severe i^riva- 
tions that human nature can endure, the enemy were 
wont to descend suddenly upon them from fastnesses 
w^hich appeared inaccessible, and committed great havock 
among their ranks. 
Arabian Still Mohammed seems determined to persevere. His 

.KimpaigiL army in Arabia at present is estimated at about 20,000 
infantry, and 2000 horse, with a suitable proportion of ar- 
tillery, engineers, sappers, and miners. According to the 
latest accounts, the head-quarters were at Mecca, where 
Kosrshid, another nephew of the pasha, resided as com- 
mander-in-chief. Ibrahim, the younger, who is gover- 
nor of Yemen, was stationed with 6000 men at Ilodeida. 
Mocha is garrisoned by 1200 men, and the rampai-ts of 
the town are defended by some old pieces of cannon. 


Gonfode, a place of some consequence on the coast, was chap, vu 
occupied by a division of 3000 or 4000 infantry, in con- Di^i~.^|. 
sequence of its proximity to the wild country inhabited Gonfode. 
by the Aseers. Loheia, Yembo, Medina, and other 
towns on the western coast of Arabia, have each a 
small garrison, to protect them from the im-oads and 
predatory attacks of the same dreaded class of Be- 
douins. In all these places there is a civil govenaor as 
well as a military commandant ; the one acting as a 
check upon the other, and thus preventmg all abuse of 

It is said that, when the viceroy shall have conquered ultimate 
the restless Arabs, or, what is more likely to happen, ^?cgfoy°^ ^'^^ 
quelled their turbulent spirit by bribes and promises, it 
is his intention to send a detachment of his army from 
Mocha to Aden, outside the straits, to take possession of 
that ancient seaport, which possesses two excellent har- 
bours, and commands the entrance into the Red Sea. 
It is at present governed by a marauding sheik, who 
could not make a steady or prolonged resistance to the 
troops of the pasha ; and though it is part of the prin- 
cipality of Senna, the authoi-ity of the Imam, the here- 
ditary chief, is hardly recognised. Having made liimself Ambitions 
master of Aden, the ambitious ruler of Egypt will un- schemes, 
questionably make an effort to extend his dominion over 
Iladramaut, a province reaching to the southern shore 
of Arabia, and at present divided among a number of 
petty prmces, who are too weak to oppose his progress. 
Marching along the coast, his soldiers will enter Oman, 
and eventually occupy Muscat and the country on the 
south-western side of the Persian gulf, thus subjecting 
to his sway the whole of the Arabian peninsula. After 
such successes, the conquest of Bagdad would prove easy 

It is rumoured in the political circles of Cairo, that pihtis of 
Mohammed Ali, having heard of the power and grandeur '='•'?'•*• 
of the ancient caliphat, longs to found an empire in the 
east which shall rival it in military strength as well as 
in princely splendour. The Imam looks with consider- 
able jealousy and apprehension on his proceedings at 




of EnglaJid. 



Influence of 
tiie -viceroy. 

Mocha, and his projected march to Aden ; and it i3 
supposed that his recent present of a line-of-battle ship 
to William IV., was made with the view of conciliating 
the friendship of the British government, in case his ter- 
ritory should be invaded by his powerful neighbour. 
The policy of the English cabinet, it is presumed, wUl 
not allow his Highness to extend his conquests as far as 
Muscat, as well on the ground of justice to the Imam as on 
that of precaution with regard to our Indian possessions. 
It is even doubtful whether a strict regard to conse- 
quences, even as affecting our immediate interests, would 
permit him to seize Aden. His administration, it is 
true, is every where acknowledged to be better than that 
of the lawless sheiks ; but if, on the mere principle of 
humanity, it may be considered expedient to establish a 
regular government, which shall secure protection to 
life and property, it would then become a question, 
whether the British themselves, so superior to the Eg\-p- 
tians in power and civilisation, should not take posses- 
sion of that port, the noble harbours of which would so 
materially forward their plans of steam-navigation to 
India. Besides giving our countr^inen a power and 
consequence in Arabia and Abyssinia wliich they do not 
at present enjoy, it would be the means of extending 
knowledge and true religion amongst a people who are 
at present immersed in the profoundest ignorance. We 
are assured, as a thing most certain, that either Moham- 
med or some other powerful state will soon possess them- 
selves of Aden, and all the principal seaports in the 
same quarter ; for it is utterly impossible that they can 
long remain in their present barbarous condition.* 

The viceroy has, no doubt, done some good in Arabia ; 
for under his rule every man's life and substance are 
secui'e from aggression, always excepting that wliich his 

• Since this account was penned, Aden has become a British 
port. The victorious Mohammed has been succeeded by his son, 
en the throne of Egj-pt, and never interests and revolutions, occupy 
the attention of British and European Cabinets. 


Highness may himself commit with impunity. It is chap. VIL 
not probable, however, that the sway of the Egyptian ^~7^ ■ . 
dynasty will be long endured, for the Turks are not 'of tiie Tuik*. 
popular among the Arabs, and the rude tribes whom the 
pasha has subdued are already sighing for their ancient 
independence. Ibrahim, his son and destmed successor, 
being a man of vigorous mind and good talent, may for a 
time keep together the scattered portions of his extensive 
dominions ; but there is reason to apprehend, that at no 
distant period the whole fabric will fall to pieces, the 
government not being founded in the affections of the 

These considerations, however, being foreign to our jioiiammed 
undertaking, we shall conclude this chapter with a brief -"^ 
outline of the character of that remarkable person who 
at present fills the viceregal throne of Egypt, and whose 
genius seems destined to accomplish a more permanent 
change on the condition of that country than has been 
effected by conquest or revolution since the days of 
Alexander the Great. 

Perhaps the actions of this ruler are the best expres- indications of 
oion of his views and feelings, and might alone be ap- memai 
pealed to as a proof of an elevated and aspiring mind, 
still clouded indeed with some of the darkest shades of 
his oo-iginal barbarism, and not unfrequently impelled by 
the force of passions which are never allowed to disturb 
the tranquillity of civilized life. He is now rather more 
than sixty years of agt, short in stature, with a high personal 
forehead and aquiline nose, and altogether possessing an appearance, 
expression of countenance which shows him to be no 
ordmary man. His dress is usually very plain ; the 
only expense which he aUows himself in matters con- 
nected with his person being lavished upon his arms, 
some of which are studded with diamonds. Like Bona- 
parte, his outward appearance seems to have changed ciiangein 
considerably witli the progress of his years ; for although, ^'^^'^^ ^^'^ 
when between tliirty and forty, he was described by a 
British traveller as " of a slender make, sallow com- 
plexion, and under the middle size," he is reported by 



by an 

CHAP. VII. the latest visiters to have become " thick-set," and 
somewhat full in the figure. 

" On our arrival being announced," says an author 
whom we have already quoted, " we were immediately 
ushered into his presence, and found him sitting on the 
corner of the divan, surrounded by his officers and men, 
who were standmg at a respectful distance. He received 
us sitting but iu the most gracious manner, and placed 
the Earl of Belmore and Mr Salt upon his left hand, and 
his lordship's two sons and myself at the top of the room 
on his right. The interpreter stood, as well as the officers 
and soldiers, who remained in the room during the whole 

Conversation time of the visit. He began the conversation by wel- 
coming us to Cairo, and prayed that God might preserve 
us, and grant us prosperity. He then inquired of the 
noble traveller how long he had been from Engltmd, and 
what was the object of liis journey to Egypt ; to all 
which he received satisfactory answers. His highness 
next adverted to the prospect before him, the Nile, the 
grain-covered fields, the Pyramids of Djizeh, the bright 
sun, and the cloudless sky, and remarked, with a certain 
triumphant humour on his lip, that England offi^red no 
such prospect to the eye of the spectator." 

He Avas told tliat the scenery of England was very fine. 
" ' How can that be,' he shortly rejoined, ' seeing j'ou are 
steeped in rain and fog three quarters of the year V — He 
next turned the conversation to Mr Leslie's elegant ex- 
periment of freezing water in the vacuum of an air-pump ; 
which he had never seen, but admired prodigiously in 
description, and seemed to anticipate with great satisfac- 
tion a glass of lemonade and iced water for himself and 
friends, as the happiest result of the discovery. Talking 
of his lordship's intended voyage up the Nile, he politely 
offered to render every possible facility ; cautioning huu 
at the same time to keep a sharp look-out when among 
the Arabs, who, he believed, would not take any thuig 
from him or his party by violence, but would certainly 
steal if they found an opportunity of doing it without 
the risk of detection. He then related a number of anec- 




dotes, toucliing the petty larcenies of that most thievish chap, vil 
race ; some of which were by no means without con- AtiecdoTes of 
trivance or dexterity. But the one which seemed to the Arabs. 
amuse both himself and his friends the most, was that of 
a traveller, who, when eating his dinner, laid dovra his 
spoon to reach for a piece of bread, and by the time he Extreme 
brought back his hand the spoon was away ; the knife '^^^'^"^y- 
and fork soon shared the same fate ; and the unfortunate 
stranger was at length reduced to the sad necessity of 
tearing his meat, and liftuig it with his fingers and thumb 
like the Arabs themselves. Many persons were near, 
but no one saw the theft committed ; and all search for 
the recovery of the property was in vain. — We now took 
leave of the viceroy, leaving him in the greatest good 
humour ; he said we might go every where, and see 
every tiling we wished, and that he hoped to have the 
pleasure of seeing us agam."* 

In reference to the freezing experiment, we may men- Freezinjr 
tion that jMohammed Ali, very soon after the visit now "ppar'itiis. 
described, obtained from England, through ]\Ir Salt, the 
requisite apparatus. The machine on its arrival was 
conveyed to his palace, and some Nile water was pro- Delight of 
cured for the purpose. He hung over the whole opera- ^°l ^^^^^■'- 
tion with intense curiosity ; and when, after several 
disappointments, a piece of real ice was produced, he took 
it eagerly in his hand, and danced round the room for 
joy like a child, and then ran into the harem to show it 
to his wives.t 

No one has attempted to conceal that there is in the His mixed 
character of this personage, mtermingled with many good 
qualities, a deep tincture of barbarism and fierceness. 
Impatient of opposition, and even of delay, he occasion- 
ally gives himself up to the most violent bursts of pas- 
sion ; and in such moments there is hardly any cruelty 
vvhich he will not perpetrate or command. For instance, 

some time ago he had ordered that the dollar should pass 


• Richardson's Travels, toI. i. p. 101. 

+ Game's Letters from the East, vol. i. p. 80. 




CHAP, va 


Vain inter • 





for a fixed number of piasters, and it was mentioned in 
his presence that this rule was not strictlj' followed. 
His highness expressed some doubt of the fact, when the 
chief interpreter carelessly observed that a Jew broker, 
whom he named, had a few days before exchanged dol- 
lars for him at the rate asserted. — " Let him be hanged 
immediately," exclaimed the pasha ! The interpreter, an 
old and favourite servant, threw himself at his sove- 
reign's feet, deprecating his own folly, and imploring 
pardon for the WTetched culprit. But all intercession 
was in vain ; the viceroy said his orders must not be 
disregarded, and the unfortunate Hebrew was instantly 
led to his death.* 

We find proofs of a similar sally at Djidda, where he 
appears to have used his own hands to inflict a punish- 
ment which he thought it inexpedient to remit. Hosseyn 
Aga, the agent for the East India Company, resident in 
that town, was, says a recent traveller, a remarkably 
fine-looking man, displaying an air of dignity mixed with 
hauteur ; handsomely clad, too, though the heavy folds 
of his muslin turban were studiously drawn over his 
right eye to conceal the loss of it, — for Mohammed All 
one day in a fit of rage pulled it out ! Yet these men are 
friends, — great friends just at present, and will remain so 
as long as it may be convenient and agreeable to both 
parties to consider each other in that light.f 

But the master of Egypt is not at all times so ferocious. 
For example, when Mrs Lushington was at Alexandria, 
intelligence was brought to him that a small fort at the 
entrance of the harbour had been taken possession of by 
certain Franks, and that the Turks belonging to it had 
been made prisoners. Some consternation prevailed 
among his people ; but instead of being angry he laughed 
heai-til}^, and swearing by his two eyes, — his favourite 
oath, — that they must be English sailors, he directed hi} 

interpreter to write to then- caj)tain, to order his men on 


* Narrative of a Journey from Calcutta to Europe, p 179. 
t Journey Overland, vol. i. p. 306. 


board ship again. Upon inquiry it proved as the pasha chap. vii. 
had anticipated ; the men had landed, got drunk, and Turkish" 
ero^Tied their Liberty by seizing on the fort, and confin- indolence, 
ing the unfortunate Turks, who, indolently smoking 
their pipes, never could have anticipated such an attack 
in time of profound peace. He evinced equal self-com- 
mand, and still more magnanimity, when he first heard Seif-com- 
of the event which destroyed his infant navy and hum- ^'^"^ 
bled his power. We allude to the battle of Navarino. 
He had not finished the perusal of the unwelcome de- 
spatches, when he desired a European consul to assure his 
countrymen and all the other Franks that they should 
not be molested, but might pursue their wonted occupa- 
tions in perfect security. 

Among the ships lying in the harbour was the wreck Singular act 
of one of the pasha's own vessels. The captain had "^ *'"="i<=- 
committed some crime which was represented by his 
crew to the viceroy, who ordered him immediately on 
shore to answer his accusers. Conscious of guilt he pre- 
tended sickness, till a second message from the same 
quarter left him no alternative ; and unable longer to 
shun his fate, he sent all his crew ashore, and calling to 
an old and faithful servant, the only person on board, 
he bade liim jump out of the port into the sea ; at the 
same time, having loaded two pistols, he fired into the 
magazine, and blew up the ship and himself together. 
When the story was related to the pasha, he said, 
" These are Frank customs ; this is dying like an Eng- 

There is something characteristic in the following Notice of Sir 
notice by Sir F. Henniker, who remarks, that the pasha ^' "«°°'^«'"- 
appeared to him to have a vulgar low-born face, but a 
commanding intelligent eye. " He received us in the 
court-yard, seated on a sofa and wielding a pipe, dressed 
like a private individual, as Turks of real consequence 
generally are, excepting on gala days. The vice-consul and 
myself sat down on the sofa with him. Pipes are not of- 

• Narrative p. 191. 




Simplicity of 

in later life. 



estimate of 

fered except to equals ; coffee served up, — no sugar, even 
though the pasha himself has a manufactory of that 
article, — the attendants ordered to withdraw ; no pride, 
no affectation, even though the pasha is an upstart. 
Remained nearly an houi' discoursing on English horses, 
military foi'ce, the emerald-mines at Cosseir, his son's 
victory over the Wahabees, and his expected triumphal 

It is generally stated, that since Mohammed Ali has 
felt himself secure in the pashalic he has ceased to be 
cruel. Seldom now does he take away life, and never 
with torture ; and if his subordinate officers were as well 
disposed as himself, the people, notwithstanding the op- 
pressive taxes, would feel their property more secure. 
One instance of his prompt justice excited much aston- 
ishment ; although a slower and more regular method 
would not, it is probable, in a nation so completely dis- 
organized, have produced an equal eftect. A cacliief 
who had not been long accustomed to the government 
of the viceroy, punished one of his own servants with 
death. He was called before the imperial deputy, and 
being asked by what authority he had committed this 
outrage, he thought it enough to urge .in his defence 
that the man was his own servant. True, retorted the 
pasha, but he was my subject ; and, in the same breath, 
passed sentence that the culprit should be immediately 
beheaded, — an effectual warning to the rest of the gran- 
dees present. Tliis act of severity has saved the lives 
of many of the Arabs, who, in former times, were sa- 
crificed by theii- Turkish masters on the most trifling 

In short, Mohammed is well spoken of by most Euro- 
pean travellers, though in general, they estimate his 
character by too high a standard, — the principles and 
habits of their o\vn countries. There is only one author 
whose impression was rather unfavourable : — " I sat in 
the divan," says he, " with my eyes fixed on him ; I 

♦ Notes, p. 63. 


wanted to examine the countenance of a man who had chap. vii. 
realized ia our day one of those scenes in history which, Description 
M'hen Ave have perused it, always compels us to lay down ^f ''im. 
the book and recover ourselves. There he sat, — a quick 
eye, features common, nose bad, a grizzled beard, look- 
ing much more than fifty, and having the worn com- 
plexion of that period of life. They tell you he is not His disposi- 
sanguinary ; men grow tu-ed of shedding blood as well 
as of other pleasures ; but if the cutting off a head 
would drop gold into his coffers, he would not be slow 
to give the signal. His laugh has nothing in it of na- 
ture ; how can it have ? I hear it now, — a hard, sharp 
laugh, such as that with which strong heartless men 
would divide booty torn from the feeble. I leave him 
to his admirers."* 

" In the usages of the table," says Mr Came, " he is still Eastern 
an Osmanli ; knives, forks, and other useful appendages, ^^'*^"**- 
never make their appearance at his meals. About five 
years ago some English travellers were graciously re- 
ceived by him, and pressingly invited to dine. But not 
even in compHance with the taste of his guests would 
he depart from his own habits ; for, wishing to show a 
noble lady particular attention, he took a large piece of singular 
meat in liis hand, and politely placed it before her. Per- ompiiment 
fcctly dismayed at the compliment, and the sight of the 
savoury morsel which rested on her plate, she turned to 
her companion, who was more used to oriental manners, 
and earnestly asked what she was to do. ' Eat it to be 
sure,' was the reply. She looked at the pasha ; his fine 
dark eye seemed to rest on her with a most kind and 
complacent expression ; and there was no help for it 
but to follow the excellent advice given her by her more 
experienced friend."t 

That Mohammed Ali is a despot, and even in some virtues of 
respects a barbarian, cannot be denied ; but there is, not- ail '"^™* 
withstanding, in all of his institutions so much of wis- 

Scpnes and Impressions, p. 176. 
t Recollections of the East, p. 268. 


CHAP. VII. dom and patriotism that he unquestionably deserves to 

Redeeming Occupy a high place among those adventurers who have 

features of go well profited by revolutions as to raise themselves 

to a throne. His ambition, though dishonoured by the 

means which he has occasionally found it necessary to 

adopt, is, on the whole, of the right kind, and has all 

Pefence of along been directed to the promotion of the national 

welfare rather than to his own personal aggrandizement. 

If he has dyed his hands in blood, it has been in that of 

the worst enemies of Egypt ; and if he has in numerous 

cases had recourse to arbitrary government, his object, 

it must be acknowledged, has ever been the security and 

improvement of the distracted country over which it 

has been his lot to preside.* 

* The effects of his policy will be considered at greater length 
towards the close of the next chapter, where an occasion will pre- 
sent itself for estimating the wisdom of his government as displayed 
in the actual condition of Egypt. 



Actual State of Egypt tinder the Government of 
Mohammed All. 

Nature of Innovations — Members of Government — Household — 
Tenure of Land — Resumption of it by the Pasha — ^Condition of 
the People — Army — Number of Men in Arms — Navy — Military 
Schools — Nautical Schools — European Arts — Canal of Jlahmou- 
dieh — Introduction of Cotton Jlanufactures — Exportation of the 
raw Material to England — Fear of Plague — Silk, Flax, Sugar — . 
Monopoly of Viceroy — Disadvantages of it — Caravans — Imports 
and Exports — Revenue and Expenditure — Population — Copt^ 
Arabs, Turks, Greeks, Jews, and Syrians — Characteristics—. 
Cairo — Houses — Citadel — Joseph's Well, Joseph's Hall — Necro- 
polis — Tombs — Mosques — Palace at Shoubra — Splendid Pavil- 
ion — Comparison of Egypt before and under the Government ol 
Mohammed Ali — Future Prospects under his Successor. 

In a country where the administration of law depends chap, vin 
almost entirely upon the character of an individual, and comparative 
where at the same time the nomination to the supreme insSgnifi- 
authority is usually determined by intrigue or in the fon^s of 
field of battle, the mere form of government cannot be despotic 
of very much consequence. But the sagacity of the 
present ruler of Eg^^t, * who is aware of the influence 
exerted on the minds of men by custom and the use of 
certain modes of speech, has dictated to him the expedi- 
ency of innovating less in the outward structure of the 
constitution than in those internal parts whence all real 
power is derived, and by means of which it is diffused 
to the remotest extremity of the vast province of which 
he has assumed the command. Although virtually in' 

• It is hardly necessary to remind the reader, that the sagacions 
rnler of Egypt has died since this was written, and that his son Las 
peacefully succeeded to the throne of Egypt. 



CHAP. VIII. dependent, lie has hitherto continued a formal acknow- 
ledgnient of that superiority -which belongs to the head 
of the Ottoman empire ; and while he wields the sceptre 
with as little restriction as the most arbitrary of oriental 
despots, he carefully preserves the appearance of only 
sharing with others a portion of a delegated authority. 

The administration is in the hands of the following 
officers : — 1st, The Iviaya Bey, who may be called the 
prime minister ; 2d, The Aga of the Janizaries, or chief 
of the war department ; Sd, The Ouali, or head of the 
military police ; 4th, The ]Mohtesib, or superintendent 
of the markets ; and, 5th, The Bash-aga, or master of 
the civil police. In every district there is also a heads- 
man, who is authorized to determine difiFerences by ar- 
bitration, and watch over the peace and good order of 
liis neighbourhood. All fees have been abolished, and 
competent salaries are appointed ; and so eflFectually are 
tliese duties performed that the streets of Cairo ai'e as 
safe as those of London, except on occasions, which now 
very seldom occur, when the military break loose for 
want of pay, or to revenge some professional grievance. 
All criminal prosecutions are settled by a cadi or judge, 
who is sent annually from Constantinople, and assisted 
by a number of sheiks, or other persons learned in the 
law. A civil process is stated to cost four per cent, of 
the value in dispute ; of which the cadi takes four-fifths 
to himself, and gives one-fifth to the legal assessors who 
have aided him in the decision. 

Besides the public officers now mentioned, there are 
others attached to the household of the viceroy, such as 
the treasurer, the sword-bearer, the inspector of pro- 
visions, the commandant of the citadel, and the superin- 
tendent of customs and excise, who in Egypt act under 
the immediate direction of the head of the government. 

Body-guard, fp^^p,, j[g ^Iso a body-guard, consisting of four hundred 
Mamlouks, to which may be added six hundred gentle- 
men of the privy-chamber, as they are called, or yeomen 
of the palace. Including all the subordinate function- 
aries in the civU and militaiy departments, the domestic 





Household of 
the viceroy. 


establishment of the pasha comprehends not fewer than CHAP, via 
fifteen hundred individuals. 

So numerous and rapid are the changes to which Ancient 
Egypt has been subjected under a succession of dynas- ll^^^'^^ 
ties, and even of foreign conquerors, that it is extremely 
difficult to ascertain on what tenure the land was held, 
in the early ages of the monarchy, by the persons who 
devoted their labour and capital to its cultivation. "We 
know that the Pharaoh who reigned in the days of 
Joseph transferred to the crown a large portion of it. 
by supplying to the famished peasantry a quantity of 
corn in return for their fields ; and hence we may infer, 
that, prior to the date at which this transaction took 
place, a distinct property in the soil was recognised by 
the Egyptian sovereigns. But, during the long interval Later 
which has elapsed since the Macedonian conquest, it is '="s'»'^-- 
probable that the territorial domain was occupied upon 
conditions similar to those wliich were implied in the 
ancient system of fiefs at one time universal tlu'oughout 
Europe, — a certain portion of the annual produce, 
whether in kind or in the form of a money-rent, being 
made payable to him whose sword, or whose influence 
with the monarch, had procured to him the feudal su- 

Before the accession of Mohammed Ali, the repre- Laad-tax. 
sentative of the sultan was satisfied with a miri, or land- 
tax, according to the quality and other advantages of 
the soil, and had even acknowledged in some of the oc- 
cupants a right almost equivalent to that of a permanent 
owner. The present viceroy, however, has taken into Seizure ot 
his own hands the greater part of the territorial posses- "" 
sions ; granting, in name of compensation, a yearly 
pension for life to the several Moultezims, or proprietors, 
whom he has thus deprived, but leaving to them nothing 
which they can bequeath to their cliildren or heirs. The 
lands which he has seized in the way now described, 
belonged, generally speaking, first, to the JNIamlouks, 
whom, except in their capacity of soldiers, he wishes 
to extirpate ; secondly, to certain establishments for 







Alienation of 



Use of the 



feeding the poor, or for supporting mosques, fountains, 
public schools, and other national charities ; and, finally, 
to the ancient class of feuars, in whose management or 
principles he could not be induced to repose a sufficient 
degree of confidence. But it is added, that even the 
CAvners of those lands which have not yet been seized 
are not masters of their crops ; they cannot dispose of 
any part of them until the agents of government have 
taken what portion they may think proper at their 
c^Ti price ; and, in place of the established miri, all the 
families attached to the court are served with agricul- 
tural produce at half its value, while the pasha regulates 
the price of all that can be spared for exportation. Such 
a s^'stem will fully explain the observation of ^I. ilengin, 
that " the traveller sees with astonishment the lichness 
of the harvests contrasted with the 'oTetched state of the 
villages ;" and that, " if it be true that there is no 
country more abundant in its territorial productions, 
there is none perhaps whose inhabitants on the whole 
are more miserable."* 

As to the agricultural labourers, or Fellahs, the inno- 
vations of the pasha have probably left them in nearly 
the same state in which, as far as history goes, they ap- 
pear always to have been, with the additional disadvan- 
tage, if such it must be esteemed, of submitting to the 
military conscription. But perhaps, although in ap- 
pearance the most tyrannical measure that Mohammed 
has enforced in the progress of his regeneration, the 
establishment of a standing army is not an evil of au 
unmixed nature. Heretofore the sword has been ex- 
clusively in the hands of foreigners, originally slaves of 
the most degraded caste, and afterwards the most haughty 
and insatiable of masters ; while at present the natives 
are taught the use of arms ; are pemiitted to rise in 
the service according to a scale of merit ; and are, in 
short, put in possession of means whereby they may 

• Histoire de I'Ep-vpte sous le Gouvernement de Mohammed Ali, 
&c. &c. Par M. Felix Mengin. 


protect their own rights against the avarice of the Turks CHAP. \iu. 
and the insolence of the ^lamlouks. 

We have already stated, on the authority of the latest Reriments of 
work which has been published on Egypt, that the '"'"""^• 
pasha has formed twelve regiments of infantry, consist- 
ing each of five battalions, and including, when on the 
war establishment, forty-eight thousand men.* We 
presume that he has hitherto satisfied himself with little 
more than half that number of foot-soldiers, — a large 
proportion of whom are dra^^^l from the Arab popula- 
tion, and even from the conquered districts of Sennaar 
and Kordofan. Planat, who held a high office in the Negro 
viceroy's staff, speaks favourably of the negroes in point 
of bodily strength, faithfulness, and sobriety, while he 
ascribes all the difficulties which were encountered by 
the Europeans appointed to introduce the new discipline, 
to the apathy, the self-conceit, and religious prejudices 
of the superior order of Turks. But so far as we con- 
sider the condition of the people at large, who are thus 
rendered liable to be called from their mud hovels to the 
camp, the improvement in food and clothing seems no 
inadequate compensation for the precarious liberty of 
which they are temporarily deprived. 

Egypt, it has been remarked, is much more easUy Fadiitv of 
governed than Arabia. The inhabitants of the former l"''*™'"^ 
country, being chiefly confined to the narrow valley of 
the Nile, live in contiguous villages, and are therefore 
managed with greater fiicflity than scattered tribes roam- 
ing over a vast extent of wilderness. Agriculture is the 
chief pursuit of the Egyptian peasants, — an employment 

* Planat informs us, that in 1826 six regiments were fully equip- 
ped, amounting in all to 24,000. " L'armee se forma alors par re- 
gimens, de cinq battaillons chacun, a 800 hommes par bataillon. ce 
qui donnait un effectif de 24,000 hommes. Les six regimens re- 
curent leurs numeros et leurs drapeaux." Regeneration de I'Egypte, 
p. 39. 

Mr Wagram, in his work entitled " Egypt as it is in 1837," 
estimates the pasha's army at 100,400 regulars, and 13,450 irregu- 
lar troops : whereof 12,400 regulars and 1900 of the latter force 
were in Hedjaz and Yemen. 



CHAP. VI li 

to R foreign 




Small arm 

which, while it inspires the love of peace, renders them 
industrious and attached to their homes. Besides, as a 
long time has elapsed since they could boast of a native 
government, they do not feel so sensibly as their brethren 
of the desert the galling chains of a foreign yoke. As 
to the country, therefore, in which his sovereignty is 
placed, Mohammed feels no apprehension. For this 
reason, a soldier is very seldom seen, except at Alexan- 
dria, Cairo, and Siout, the three principal towns, where 
nurseries of the army are established. 

The infantry, says a ]ate traveller, are well clothed in 
the Nizam dress, a modification of the Turkish costume, 
introduced by Ibrahim after the war in the Morea, 
Their muskets are made in the capital, after a French 
model, and are lighter and more handy than the British. 
Their cartridge-boxes, powder, and ball, are all in ex- 
cellent order. They are principally drilled, those at least 
who are meant for the service in Arabia, as light troops, 
with the view of being better prepared to cope with their 
irregular and undisciplined foes the Aseers. In the 
citadel of Cairo is the cannon found ery. There are both 
EngUsh and French models in the establishment, but 
the pasha prefers the latter, and all the guns now made 
are in exact accordance with the Parisian pattern. There 
are pieces of twelve, nine, six, and four pounds calibre, 
all beautifully cast, and reflecting the highest credit on 
the ai*tists. In the small-arm manufactory there are 
many thousand stands of muskets, besides pistols, bayon- 
ets, and sabres for the cavalry. We mention these cir- 
cumstances because they denote not only a warlike dis- 
position on the part of the government, but also the 
means of extending and confirming the conquests already 
made along the eastern coasts of the Mediterranean and 
the farther shore of the Red Sea.* 

From the same authority we learn that the fleet lying 
at anchor in the harbour of Alexandria consists of five or 

* Some of these detail? have been collected from a communica- 
tion made by Captain Mackenzie to the president of the Royal 
Asiatic Society. 


six ships of tlie line, several frigates, brigs^ and sloops of chap. viir. 
war, all commanded by Turks and manned by Arabs. 
Nothing can exceed the order and regularity which pre- Order and 
vail on board these vessels ; the decks are beautifully ^^^ '"' ^ 
clean, the brass railings and mountings highly polished ; 
and the guns, gun-rooms, and warlike stores every way 
unexceptionable. But it is not concealed that as their 
lower timbers are decayed, many of these splendid ves- 
sels are not sea-worthy ; and that it would be unsafe to Real in- 
make a voyage even to tlie coast of Syria in some of them ^™'^'^"'^>'- 
which have the fairest appearance. Besides, the crews, 
generally speaking, are composed of inexperienced young 
men, brought from the interior, tlie great majority of 
whom have never been outside the harbour. The com- 
manders and officers, too, are indiflferent sailor's, possess- Is^orance of 
ing little science and hardly any experience. Such a [Jjanders. 
fleet may be formidable when engaged with an Ottoman 
squadron, biit against a European naval force, their 
bravest efforts could accomplish nothing. The " Nile," 
a steam-frigate of a thousand tons, is the finest vessel in 
Mohammed's service. She has English engineers, a 
surgeon from the same country, but is manned and of- 
ficered in tlie same inefficient manner as the rest of the 

A recent traveller, who has published a report of the Jfore favour- 
Egyptian navy for the present year, gives a somewhat ^^^^ repoit. 
more favourable account of its condition and capabilities. 
The effective force he reckons at eight line of battle- 
ships, seven frigates, four coiwettes, eight brigs, besides 
steamers and armed transports. On the stocks there Vessels 
are four ships of the line, and three fii-st-rate frigates of ^'^'^^• 
sixty guns each. The naval school of Ra^setin contains 
twelve hundred pupils, who are educated, clothed, and 
entirely maintained at the expense of the government, 
besides receiving a small salary. Of the young men Training 
trained in this seminary, some are exclusively devoted ^^"^''T'- 
to the sea- service, while others are employed in the 

• Mackenzie, a? already quoted. 




CHAP. VIII. general branclies of the administration. There are, be- 
sides, two schools entirely nautical, kept on board the 
Acre and Mansurah. The number of pupils varies ac- 
cording to circumstances ; their allowance seems to be 
liberal ; and, in order to confer honour on the institu- 
tion as well as on the naval profession at large, the vice- 
roy has enrolled his own son, Sahid Bey, in the list of 

* Semilasso (Prince Puckler Muskau) in Egypt. His notice 
respecting the fleet of Mohammed is as follows : — 

YEAR 1837. 


30 pounders. Men. 

The Acre 104 guns 1200 

IMasser 104 guns and carronades...l200 

IMohallet el Kubra.lOO — _ 1150 

Skander 1 00 carronades 1150 

Mansurah 100 — .1150 

Horns 100 — 1150 

Beleng 96 — 1000 

Aboukir 82 _ 930 


24 pounders. 

Avadalla. 64 guns and carronades 600 

Raschid 60 — _ 580 

Beherah 60 — — 680 

Mufta Dschehad 60 — _ 580 

Dscher Dschehad 60 — _ 680 

KaflFer Schaek 60 — _ 580 

Damiat 54 — — 600 


50 pounders. 

Tantali 24 carronades. 

Dschen al Buchar 24 — 

Belinghi Dschehad. ...22 — 

Dschehad Beker 22 — 



18 pounders 190 

Schacka 18 carronades, 1 pounders. . . 1 20 

Washington 18 — — 100 

Semende Dschehad. ..18 — _ 100 

Beber Dschehad 18 — — 100 


To complete his aiTangements, the pasha has also chap, viil 
founded several military schools, in which young persons unit^ 
of all ranks, especially from among the Arabs, are in- schooii 
structed in mathematics, fortification, gunnery, foreign 
languages, and in the principles of European tactics. 
The latest inventions are imported from France and 
England ; the most expensive apparatus and instru- 
ments are purchased ; the mysteries of gas, and steam, 
and lithography, are subjects of familiar study in the 
Eg^-ptian capital, encoiu'aged by the viceroy, and pa- 
tronised by his court. 

Mrs Lushington visited the jMUitary College in Cairo, Jiiiitar>- 
where she found masters in all the different branches of ^^'^^^ "* 
art and science which are deemed subservient to the 
profession of a soldier. " Besides these professors there 
were other instructors, chiefly Italians, who, in addition 
to their own language, taught Arabic, Turkish, and 
French, as also botany and arithmetic. Of the pupils 
three hundred were military conscripts, one hundred Pupils, 
and fifty Greek slaves, and the rest Turkish boys from 
Roumelia, and many Egyptians, who were either Slam- 
loiLks or slaves of the pasha. These were divided into 


The Scheinderi 1 6 carronades, 10 pounders... 90 

Themsach 16 _ 12 — 90 

Shabal Dschehad 14 — 16 — 90 

Cutter 10 _ 16 — 90 


Nile 4 carronades. 30 pounders 1 50 ' 

— 2 guns a la Paischans 150 

Total 1428 14.600 


Ships of tlie line. 

No. 9 100 guns and carronades 30 pounders 

10 88 — — 

11 ino _ — 

12. All the parts of this ship are ready, but are not yet 
put together. Three first-rate frigates are in a 
similar state of forwardness. 


CHAP. vin. classes of sixty or a hundred each, every class under an 
Division of instructor and subordinate monitors. Besides the nia- 
ciasses. thematical stiidents, twenty were learning Persian, a 

great many French and Italian, and the whole were 
taught to read and write Turkish and Arabic. Of tlie 
fourteen himdred boys of which the college consists, five 
hundred are boarders, and the rest are day-scholars ; all 
appeared healthy, clean, and well clothed. 
Revenue " The munificence of the pasha aUots above six thou- 

fhe°semiua- ^''^^^ dollars a-month to the mamtenance of tliis semi- 
ries. nary ; which, though a small sum when compared to 

what would be the expenses of a similar establishment 
in England, is adequate to its purpose in a country where 
the necessaries of life are both cheap and abundant. The 
Lithoerapiiic lithographic and printing presses next engaged our at- 
presJe""'"'^ tention. They were apparently well conducted under 
the management of a Drase, a native of Mount Lebanon, 
a young man of polite manners, lively and intelligent, 
and one of the many who had been sent by the pasha to 
Europe for education. I sa-\\- printing in all its T)ranches, 
from the formation of the letters to the completion of a 
book. The works already pruated Avere, a ' Turkish 
History' by an officer of the Grand Vizier ; ' Correspon- 
dence between the Pasha and the Porte ;' a Translation in 
Turkish of some French authors on military and naval 
gunnery ; the Persian poem called Goolistan ; and some 
grammars. The presses were made under the superin- 
tendence of this Druse, but the paper was of European 

Having experienced much difficulty, and several 

• Narrative of a Journey, p. 171. This college, we believe, is 
at Boulak, the port of Cairo, and not vsithin the vialls of the city. 
We were struck with a remark made by the pasha when visiting 
one of his military schools. Addressing the young officers, whom 
he exhorted to redouble their zeal and perseverance as the first 
diiKculties were already overcome, he said, " If I liad any influence 
in heaven, I should work miracles in yo\ir behalf; but I am nothing 
more than a man, andean only give you salaries." *' Si j'avais du 
credit dans le ciel je ferais pour vous des miracles ; mais je ne suia 
qu'unhomme, jene puis vous offrir que des salaires." Planat, p. 181. 


disappointments, as long as he was obliged to employ chap. viii. 
foreigners in his different undertakings, the pasha perse- pupiissentto 
veres in the scheme, which he adopted some years ago, Europe. 
of sending young men of talent to Italy, France, and 
England, to study the respective arts of those enlighten- 
ed countries. Several of his pupils have visited London To London, 
and other parts of Great Britain, where they endeavoured 
to make themselves acquainted with every mechanical 
pursuit or ingenious invention that was hkely to give 
pleasure to their sovereign, and to benefit their native 
land. At the present time, besides some small colonies 
stationed at Genoa and Leghorn, there are about forty To Paris, 
individuals in Paris, under the direction of Messra 
Jomard and Agoub, learning various branches of sci- 
ence, the liberal arts, and even the outlines of European 

It is sometimes a misfortune for a man to live in ad- unpopni.v 
vance of his age ; and we accordingly find that the pasha rity of the 
is not only far from being popular, but that he is dis- 
liked by the more influential classes of his subjects on 
account of his most meritorious exertions. The indul- 
gence, for example, which he grants to religious sects of 
every denomination ; the use of the vaccine discovery as its source, 
well as of other surgical practices borrowed fi-om Europe ; 
and above all, the school of anatomy recently founded, 
which creates a necessity for human subjects even in 
addition to the waxen models which he has procured 
from Italy, are innovations highly disagreeable to the 
bigoted JIussulmans. In fact they perceive that he is 
a Turk only to his own countrymen, with whom he is 
rigidly strict ; whilst to all others he displays a degree 

* We may mention, as a proof that Egypt keeps pace with the 
progress of the age, the publication of a newspaper under the 
auspices of Mohammed Ah. This periodical, it is true, does not 
yet enjoy that degree of freedom, in point of speculation and re- 
monstrance, which is exercised in Europe; but it serves, at least, 
as the vehicle of information to the remoter parts of the pashalic, 
and as the means of improvement to the various orders of men who 
are capable- of sharing in the impulse which carries forward their 
spirited ruler in liis schemes of amelioration. 


CHAP. VI 11. of liberality to which they are disposed to give the name 
Expe"^ture ^^ dishonesty or indifference. 

on mosques. His labours are somewhat better appreciated when 
they are directed to the embellishment of mosques, the 
decoration of fountains and reservoirs, or to the erection 
of a colonnade of white marble in honour of a patron 
saint. But, whatever may be thought of his conduct at 
home, he has every where else obtained great praise for 
Opening ^^ indefatigable exertions in opening the ancient canals 
tanais. which had been closed up for centuries, and in digging 

new ones, in order to promote the safety as well as the 
extension of commerce. Among these is particularly 
deserving of notice the cut which connects the harbour 
of Alexandria with the NUe, near Fouah, — a magnifi- 
cent work, forty-eight miles in length, ninety feet broad, 
and about eighteen in depth, — and which supplies the 
means for bringing the whole produce of the country, 
without danger or delay, to the point of expoitation. 
Atiundance In the winter of 1817, we are told, when a scarcity of 
01 grain. grain prevailed all over Europe, vessels flocked to Egypt, 
where there was abundance ; but owing to the bar at 
the mouth of the Nile near Rosetta, and the tempestuous 
■weather along the coast, none of it coiild be conveyed in 
time to Alexandria. Hence, of the ships which had as- 
Difficiiih- of sembled, above three hundred in number, some at length 
expoi-ting it. went away in ballast, and others with half cargoes, — a 
circumstance which occasioned not only a very heavy loss 
to the o^^^lers, but endless disputes among the agents and 
merchants. It was then that the advantages of a navi- 
gable canal were urged upon the pasha, who resolved to 
engage immediately in the arduous midertakmg. 
Consequent In pursuance of this great object, all the labourers of 
nndertaiiiDg. Lower Egypt were put in requisition, and a month's pay 
advanced to them to provide necessaries. To each village 
and district was allotted, as to the Roman legions of old, 
the extent of work which they were expected to per- 
form. The Arabs were marched down in multitudes, 
imder their respective chiefs, along the line of the in- 
tended canal ; and it has been confidently stated, on 


good authority, that the number employed at one time chap, viil 
amounted to upwards of two hundred and fifty thousand ^. ~ 

T T 1 1 • Till Number of 

men. in little more than six weeks the whole excava- men em- 

tion was completed, and the mass of the people returned P'^y*^*^- 

home to their respective habitations ; but, in the autumn, 

a few thousands were called upon to face parts of the 

bank with masonry, and to render the whole navigable 

for vessels of considerable burden. This canal, which is opening of 

named INIalimoudieh, was opened with great pomp on t'le canal 

the 7th December 1819, and promises to confer a great 

benefit on the natives themselves as well as on the 

foreign merchant who sends ships to their jjort.* 

It has been stated by several of the late writers on Reported 

EgATit, that twenty thousand labourers fell a sacrifice to mortality 
.1 p 1 1 1 • . 1 . among the 

the urgency oi the pasha on this occasion, and tnat, as labomers. 
the Franks are accused of having suggested the improve- 
ment, they share with his highness the odium which 
attaches to the remembrance of so oppressive a servitude. 
But, making allowance for the exaggeration usual iu 

* The increase of trade at the port of Alexandria has already 
rewarded the pasha for his exertions, and proved the wisdom of hia 
plan. The following notice, extracted from M'Culloch's " Dic- 
tionary of Commerce and Commercial Navigation," contains useful 
intelligence, and affords at the same time additional evidence of the 
improving state of Egypt : — 

" The imports principally consist of hardware, iron and tin, to- 
bacco, timber, machinery, silk, woollens, slaves, cotton-stuffs, &c. 
The exports consist of cotton, rice, wheat, and other grain, flax, 
linseed, sugar, coffee, drugs, &c. In 1823, no fewer than 140 
vessels loaded with grain were despatched from Alexandria for Con- 
stantinople and the islands of the Archipelago. 

" Money, — Accounts are kept at Alexandria, a? at Cairo, in cur- 
rent piiisters, each piaster being equal to 40 paras or medini, and 
each medino to 30 aspers. The medino is also divided into 8 borbi, 
or 6 forli. A purse contains 25,000 medini. The piasters struck 
in 1826 contain a great deal of alloy ; 15^ or 16 piasters = 1 Spa- 
nish dollar ; hence I piaster = 3Ad. sterling very nearly. Payments 
in transactions of any importance are generally made in Spanish 

" (Veights and Measures. — The yard or pik = 26 '8 English 
inches ; hence lOOpiks == 74'438 English yards. The measures for 
corn are the rhebebe and the quillot or kisloz ; the former = 4*3fa'4 
English bushels, the latter = 4-729 ditto. The cantara or quintal = 
100 rottoli. but the rottolo has different names and weights : 1 


CHAP. VII 1. such cases, it is probable that the loss of life was not so 
Doubtlw to ^^'^^^ *3 i^ hfi^ been represented ; and, besides, it is more 
accuracy. likel}' to have fallen upon the women and children, who 
as in the patriarchal times follow the migration of the 
males, than upon the workmen who were actually em- 
ployed in the excavation. We are inclined to adopt this 
view of the matter from a fact stated by Planat in regard 
Singular to the military conscription about five years ago. The 
migiations. number of recruits wanted for the army was 12,000, but 
the multitude who appeared at the camp, including all 
ages and both sexes, was found to exceed 70,000, and 
who, before they could return to their dwellings, must 
have been subjected to much suffering, and to almost 
every species of privation.* 

rottolo forforo = "9347 lb. avoirdupois ; 1 rottolo zaidino := 1 "SSo 
lb. ditto ; 1 rottolo zauro or zaro = 2-07 lb. ditto ; 1 rottolo mina 
= 1"67 lb. ditto. — Manuel Universel de Nelkenbrecher. 

" The following is an account of the foreign vessels that arrived 
at Alexandria in 1822, 1823, and 1824: — 

1822. 1823. 1824. 

Venetian and Tuscan 292 351 600 

Danish, 15 25 13 

French, 57 52 111 

English, American, and Ionian, 223 230 251 

Romish, _ 2 

Russian, lO 59 100 

Sardinian, 143 98 77 

Hollanders, 3 15 

Spaniards, 54 24 70 

Swedes 76 81 47 

Sicilians, 28 12 14 

901 933 1290 
— Bulletin des Sciences Geographiques." 

" In 1831 there entered the port of Alexandria 1215 ships, burden 
198,299 tons. Of these the Austrian were the most numerous; 
next the English and Ionian ; and then the French, Spanish, and 
Sardinian." — M'CuHoch's Dictionary, article " Alexandria." 

* With respect to the canal of Alexandria, it is said, that owing 
partly to the nature of the ground, partly to some defects in the 
construction, and partly to the mud deposited by the water of the 
Nile, it cannot now be navigated except during the period of the 
inundation. Its free and constant navigation would be of the 
neatest advantage ; and it is believed that this object might be 
secured by facing the inside with brick, and putting it otherwise ju 
good order. 

of Egj-pt, 


In connexion with the great improvements which are chap. \in. 
taking place every day in navigation, more especially by jncreasinc 
means of steam, the trade of Egypt naturally rises into importance 
immense impoilance. At present, as in the ancient days 
of oriental commerce, Alexandria presents itself as the 
station of a grand entrepot between Europe and Hindo- 
stan. There is little hope of a canal bein? ever accom- Difficulties 

of tl C3.ll ill 

plished across the isthmus of Suez. The moving sands across the 

of the desert would soon defeat the efforts of the most J?*"i"'* of 

skilful engineer in his attempt to coimect the Red Sea 

and the Mediterranean either by a water-channel or a 
rail-road. Besides, the upper part of the gulf is so much 
impeded by rocks that merchantmen would find them- 
selves continually exposed to the hazard of shipAvreck 
even in the finest season of the year. 

The route from Cosseir is therefore decidedly the best Route from 
for reviving a regular intercourse with India, along the ^'^^^""■ 
northern line of the African coast. The distance from 
the Nile at Kenneh, — the ancient Coptos, — is about 
seventy mOes ; and a good road, it is said, might be 
effected without much difficulty. The eastern side of 
the Red Sea, in that latitude, is both deep and safe, 
affording the utmost facility of passage even to ships of 
great burden ; and the few obstacles that rcmam on the 
opposite coast may with a little care be either removed 
or avoided. Goods would tlien be sent down the NUe 
from Kenneh to Alexandria, whence all the ports on the 
Mediterranean Avould I'cceive their principal supply. 

Hence appears the gr<^at importance of civilizing importance 
Egypt, which under an enlightened government would Egj!^{J'^'"^ 
prove the means of facilitating a regular correspondence 
between Europe and all the trading nations of the 
Asiatic continent. The French, it is alleged by all re- 
cent travellers, are not blind to the manifold advantages 
which may be reaped fi-om such an intercourse ; and 
are therefore sedulous in their endeavours to obtain a 
footing in the country, as the allies or agents of the 
pasha. There is hardly any department of his adminis- 
tration, civU or military, in whicli the subjects of Louis 


CHAP, viii Philippe exert not a large share of influence; recommend- 
ing the usages of their native land as the most deserving 
pf imitation, and the policy of their sovereign as the 
best entitled to confidence. 
Fruits of The zeal and energy of tlie viceroy have been re- 

energy, warded by a great increase of trade, and a corresponding 
rise in the value of raw produce ; hut accident has con- 
ferred upon him a greater boon than could have been 
derived from the wisest arrangements. M. Jumel dis- 
covered one day, in the garden of a Tm-k called Mako, 
Cotton tree, a plant of the cotton-tree, which he afterwards propa- 
gated with so much skiU and success as to have changed, 
saj^s Planat, the commerce and statistics of Egypt. This 
important vegetable bears the name of the Frenchman 
who first made the government acquainted with its 
manifold uses as an article of domestic manufacture and 
of foreign trade. Jumel erected at Boulak, near Cairo, 
Cotton mills, a superb establishment, equal in its structure to the 
finest European manufactory, for spinning, weaving, 
dyeing, and printing of cotton goods. The latest im- 
provements in machinery were borrowed from Rouen 
or Manchester ; steam is the principal moving power ; 
and gas is employed for the purposes of artificial light, 
jfanufactory At Siout Mr Webster found a cotton manufactory in 
at Siout. ^^Y operation. " It was established," says he, " some 
six years ago, and gives employment to eight hundred 
men and hoys, who earn ten, fifteen, twenty, or thirty 
paras, and sometimes three piasters. Little boys of 
seven or eight were seen in all parts of the process. The 
Intelligence Arab boys are singularly active and intelligent-looking. 
oys. "pjjgy- -yvork with an air of sharpness which is quite re- 
markable, — a sort of style and flourish, which shows a 
full comprehension and mastery of what they are about. 
They appear much quicker than English boys of the 
same age. Young girls were once tried in the factory, 
but were found to be of no service. The manager and 
aub-manager accompanied us roimd with great pleasure. 
C otton fac tories are by no means uncommon in Egypt."* 
• Travels, vol. ii p. 131. 


M. Mengin makes a remark, which we have seen con- chap. viii. 
firmed by other authors, — namely, that during the pre- imp^'i^guts 
valence of the desert- winds machinery is very liable to to machi- 
be disordered by the impalpable dust which then fills "^"^ 
the air, and is extremely penetrating. This powder 
finds its way into the wheel-work and finer parts of a shifting 
piece of mechanism, disturbing and sometimes stopping ^^fis. 
the movements ; while the wood, in similar circum- 
stances, warps or splits, and the threads, owing to the 
excessive dryness of the climate, are very apt to break 
and snap asunder. But notwitlistanding all these disad- 
vantages, which perhaps find a full compensation in 
the cheap labour of a country whose inhabitants have 
few wants, the pasha is able to compete with the Euro- 
pean manufacturers in every market to which he is ad- 
mitted, and even to undersell the merchants of India in 
their own ports.* 

It has happened, fortunately for the pasha, that this Superiority 
cotton- wool is not the usual coarse kind hitherto grown °' ^^® cotion. 
in Egypt, but of a very superior (quality, equal to the 
best American. In the year 1822, the crop yielded 
about 5,600,000 lbs., — a portion of which being sent to 
Liverpool on trial, was sold at the rate of a shilling 
a-pound. In 1823, the produce was so abundant that, j^g g^g^t 
after supplying the countries on the borders of the Me- abundance. 
diterranean, it was calculated that at least 50,000 bags 
might be exported to England. He is still extending 
the culture of this useful plant on tracts of ground long 
neglected, by clearing out the old canals, and digging 
others for the purpose of iiTigation ; so that it is very 
probable the quantity of cotton which may be raised in 

" About six years ago tbe following notice appeared in a 
Calcutta paper, dated a short time previous : — " An Arab ship has 
arrived from the Red Sea, and brought 250 bales of cotton-yarn, the 
manufacture of the pasha at his spinning-mills near Cairo. It is re- 
ported that he has sent 500 bales to Surat, 1000 to Calcutta, and 
that he intends next season to send long-cloths, madapoUands, &c., 
having established power-looms ! These goods are at present ad- 
mitted at 60 per cent, invoice cost, besides 4^ per cent, customs. 
What will the mercantile community say to this new competitor?" 




Prospects of 

the cotton 

sions oi the 


Efforts to 
extirpate it 
from Eg)!)!. 

Egypt will at no distant period equal the whole impor- 
tation from America ; because, as the crop is not ex- 
posed, on the banks of the NUe, to the frosts and heavy 
rains which frequently injure it in the less temperate 
climate of the United States, it is much less precarious. 
Besides, this new source of supply acquires additional 
importance from the consideration that it will be brought 
to England in British shipping, and will therefore al- 
most necessarily lead to an increase of our export trade 
to Eg}i)t. 

It was at one time apprehended that fear of the 
plague in tliis country might prove an obstacle to the 
extension of the cotton trade with the dominions of the 
pasha. An alarm, which no one could pronounce alto- 
gether groundless, seized the magistrates of Liverpool, 
who forthwith consulted the physicians, both as to the 
risk of infection, and the proper means for preventing so 
formidable an evil. But the experience of more than a 
century proves that, with suitable precautions, the dis- 
ease in question can be effectually guarded against, even 
in climates which might be imagiaed to predispose the 
human constitution to its influence. The IMediterraneati 
States, for example, have found that the establishmen't 
of quarantine protects the health of their uihabitants ; 
while many hitelligent medical men hold the opinion 
that the atmosphere of Great Britain, combiued with 
the improved police of our larger towns, is itself a suffi- 
cient antidote to the malady, which occasionally carries 
deatli through the crowded, filthy, and ill-ventilated 
lanes of the modem Alexandria. The pasha himself has 
undertaken to extirpate the plague from Egypt ; and 
we have no doubt that, bj' the use of the means wliich 
he has been advised to adopt, he will ultimately suc- 
ceed. The rules enforced by the English Board of 
Health ra that country ta 1801, had the effect, in the 
first instance, of causing its gradual disappearance, and, 
finally, of bringing it to a total cessation ; and the whole 
of Egj'^pt remained perfectly free from it during the ten 
succeeding years. At all events a trade with Turkey 


has been canied on with perfect mipunity from a very CHAP, viii. 
remote period ; comprehending cotton-wool, cotton-yam, 
mohair-yarn, and carpets, articles not less to be sus- 
pected as vehicles of contagion than the commodities 
produced by Mohammed Ali.* 

Besides cotton, this enterprising monarch has be- Siik, flax, 
stowed similar attention on silk, flax, and the sugar- '''"^ ^^ar. 
cane. To these may be added indigo, safflower, and 
henneh, which are of great use in the various processes 
of dyeing and calico-printing. In the valley of Tomlat, 
the ancient Land of Goshen, he has established a colony 
of five hundred Sj'rians, for the purpose of improving Rearing 
the mulberry and rearing silkworms ; while, in the s'l^wonna. 
beautiful province of Fayoum, the vine and the olive 
are again approacliing that perfection which they once 
enjoyed, and for which the genial cHmate of Egypt ap- 
pears exceedingly well calculated. Tobacco is likewise Tobacco, 
cultivated to a great extent ; but, being weaker than 
the American, is not so much liked in Europe, and is 

• See Quarterly Review, vol. xxx. p. 500. Planat and Volney. 
The quantity of cotton-wool exported from Egypt in the six years 
I'rom 1829 to 1834 inclusive, was as foUovrs : — 

1829, 6,894,480 

1830, 3,048,633 

1831, 7,714,474 

1832, 10,824,111 

1833, 8,533364 

1834, 7,444,347 

During the year 1835, more than 100,000 bales of cotton were 
shipped at Alexandria. The price paid for this quantity by the 
merchants exceeded £700,000. The quantity exported in 1836 
was 34,000 bales, which is considerably less than usual. 

In 1835 the French imported from Egypt 25,807 bales of cotton . 
the imports at Trieste during the same year were about 50,000 ; 
and those at Leghorn and Genoa were together about the same 
amount as that at Trieste. The bale of Egyptian cotton weighs 
about 220 lbs. 

The amount of goods exported from Great Britain to Egypt in 
1834 and 1835 was as follows :— 

Cotton Goods. Hosiery, Lace, &c Co-.too Varn & Twiit. 

1834. Yards, 3.929,444 Value, £296 631,714 lbs. 
Value, £95,874 Value, £29,900 

1835. Yards, 6,326,027 £290 464,120 lbs. 
Value, £161,779 Value, £29.683 


CHAP. VIII. therefore chiefly confined to domestic consumption. In 
Immense ^ word, it is impossible to set limits to the productive 
productive powers of that fine country, stimulated by heat and 
"^'^ moisture to an extent which in some degree may be re- 
gulated by the wants of the agriculturist, and of which 
the soil is constantly repaired by the annual depositions 
of the river. Nothing seems wanting but a more en- 
lightened experience, and the enjo}Tnent of greater free- 
dom on the part of the cultivator, to render the domi- 
nions of Mohammed Ali the richest country on the 
face of the earth, the abode of plenty, civilisation, and 
Interference But it must not be concealed, that at present the 
industnT*'^ pasha is too much disposed to interfere with the private 
industry of his subjects. His views of political econo- 
my are narrow in the extreme. Having created the 
commerce and manufactories of Egj'pt, he regards the 
whole as his own property, or at least so much under 
his control that no one is pemiitted to think for him- 
self, to fix his price, or to choose his market. His excise 
Excise. officers rival in activity the agents of the oldest Eui'opean 

nation ; and hence we are assured that, if a peasant sows 
a little cotton and his wife spins it into a garment, it is 
liable to seizure unless it be stamped with the viceroy's 
mark as a proof of its having paid duty. We are farther 
Shoemaking. told that he furnishes the shoemaker with leather, who 
cuts it and makes it into shoes, and when thev are finished 
carries them to the proper agent, who pays him so much 
a-day for his labour. The shoes are then deposited in a 
general store, out of which they are sold to the public. 
Cloth manu- The same thing is done with regard to the cloth manu- 
tcture. factures. He provides the weaver with the yam, who 
when he has completed his web takes it to the national 
overseer, who remimerates him at a certain rate for his 
work ; the stuff is then lodged in the government ware- 
house, where it is either sold to the natives themselves, 
or exported by foreign merchants, at a considerable pi-ofit 
to the vigUant pasha. 

The same prmciple applies to the largest establish- 


ments. Every landholder and manufacturer is obliged chap, vm 
to convey the produce of his labour to some central Government 
depot, where it is purchased by the agents of govern- agency, 
ment at fixed prices ; and all aiiicles must be marked, 
otherwise they cannot be legally sold. Even in the 
speculations of commerce the pasha claims the right 
of taking a share with the merchants, so far at least as 
to advance funds and enjoy a portion of the profit. But, 
should the adventure turn out unfavourably, he does not 
think himself bound to bear any part of the loss ; con- 
fining his generosity on such occasions to an ample allow- 
ance of time for reimbursing the stock which he may 
have contributed. 

Hence, it has been alleged that his countenance has in EvU effects of 
many cases proved a positive disadvantage ; because he interference. 
has induced mercantile houses into speculations in which 
they would not have voluntarily engaged, and involved 
them in difficulties from which some who possessed but 
a small capital have never recovered. It is in the Indian Disasters of 
trade chiefly that these disasters have occurred ; suffi- the^india 
cient attention not having been paid to the length of the 
voyage, the slo^sTiess of the returns, and, above aU, the 
fi'cquent gluts to which those distant markets are liable. 
But so desirous is Mohammed of establishing an inter- 
course with the East, that there are no expedients within 
the range of human means which he will not employ in 
order to realize his purpose. The recovery of the wealth 
which was withdrawn from Egypt by the barbarism of 
its government, as well as by the improvements in na- 
vigation which crowned the efforts of the European Political 
powers in the beginning of the sixteenth century, is a j^"?' '''• 
favourite object with the politicians of Cairo, and engages 
deeply the attention of their chief. He can already sup- 
ply the states on the shores of the Mediterranean with 
wax, hides, coff^ee, myrrh, frankincense, coculus indicus. Commercial 
assafoetida, ivory, rhinoceros-horn, tortoise-shell, sal-am- '"PPiies- 
moniac, senna, tamarinds, ostrich-feathers, incense, bal- 
sam of Mecca, gum-arabic, gum-copal, benzoin, Socotrine 
aloes, coloquintida, gum-ammoniac, galbanura, sagap&- 




CHAP. viiL num, opoponax, spikenard, sulphur, musk, and gold- 

overland The mtcrcourse by land with the countries towards 

caravans. ^j^^ south and west is carried on by caravans. Those 
from Sennaar and Darfur arrive in September or October, 
and depart when they have sold their goods and com- 
pleted their purchases. The sacred convoy of pilgrims 

Jiecca. bound to Mecca reaches Egypt about the Ramadan or 

general fast, and sets oflF immediately after Beiram, the 
great Mohammedan feast, that it may enter the holy 
city before the month of the festival has expired. Cara- 

Mount Sinai, vans from Mount Sinai appear in the spruig, bringing 
dates and charcoal ; similar commodities are sent from 
the oases on the backs of camels ; the same mode of 
conveyance being still used to transport the cargoes of 
Arabia, Persia, and Hindostan, from the Red Sea to the 

The caravans from Abj-ssinia travel northward through 
tlie desert, on the eastern side of the NUe, as far as Esneh. 
They bring ivory and ostrich-feathers ; but their prin- 
cipal trade consists in gum and in slaves of both sexes, 
Cairo being the ultimate destination of the latter, the 
place where the sales are made. They carry home the 
glass manufactures of Venice, woollen dresses, cotton and 
linen stuffs, blue shawls, and some other articles which 
they purchase at Siout and Kenneh. The Ababde and 
Bicharis tribes also come to Esneh, for metals, utensils, 
and such grain as they require. They sell slaves, camels, 
and gum, gathered by them in their deserts, iis well as 
the charcoal which they make from the acacia trees. 
But the most valuable commodity that they bring is 
senna, wliich they collect in the mountains between the 
Nile and the Red Sea, where it grows without culture. 
The trade to Cossetr, on the shores of that Gulf, is 
only a feeble remnant of that by which Egypt was once 
enriched. The exports are, wheat, barley, beans, lentils, 
sugar, carthamon flowers, oil of lettuce, and butter. 
The unportations are, coffee, cotton cloth, Indian muslins, 
English silks, spices, incense, and Cashmere shawls. This" 


Trade to 


branch of commerce is conducted by persons going on chap. viii. 
their pilgrimage to ^lecca. — 

The principal imports from the nations of Europe may European 
be reckoned as follows : — The French cloths called ma- '™F°'''^- 
houts and londrins, silks, scarlet caps, gold-lace, blotting- 
paper, glass, earthenware, hardware, watches, and many 
inferior objects from Marseilles ; every variety of cotton 
goods, superfine broadcloths, lead, tin, iron, steel, vitriol, 
gun-barrels, firearms, and watches, from England ; 
similar articles from Germany and Italy, especially the 
scarlet bonnets or skullcaps which are indispensable to 
the Turks. Sucli goods brought directly fi-om the place import 
of manufacture pay an import duty of three per cent. ; duties. 
while Turkish commodities are charged five per cent, at 
Alexandria, and four per cent, at Boulak. For goods 
brought by land from the interior, nine per cent, is ex- 
acted at one pajTnent. The export duty is thi-ee per 
cent, to Europe, and five per cent, to Turkey on either Export 
side of the Hellespont. Cargoes sent by the Red Sea '^^'i^^- 
pay ten per cent, each way, with certain exceptions too 
minute to be specified on the present occasion. The 
fullest details, with ample lists of exjiorts and imports, 
are given by M. Mengin, in the work already so often 
referred to, where the mercantile reader will find much 
to gratify his curiosity in regard to the commercial sys- 
tem pursued by Mohammed Ali.* 

The revenue of Egypt has been estimated at £2,249,379, Revenue of 
— arising from the miri, or land-tax ; the customs ; the ^e>Pt- 
resumed lands, amountmg to nearly all the cultivated 
soil ; the conquered territories, Darliir, Sennaar, Nubia, 
and a large part of Arabia ; the monopoly of nearly all 

* We have in our possession a " Tableau du Commerce de 
I'Egypte avec I'Europe," containing a great variety of articles under 
the separate heads of importation and exportation. The imports 
are from France, England, Holland, Germany, Russia, Sweden, and 
the Mediterranean states. The exports are produced in Egypt, 
India, Arabia, Abyssinia. Nubia, Sennaar, and Kordofan. The com- 
modities drawn from Europe indicate not onlv an increase of wealth 
among jhe subjects of Mohammed AU, but also the progress of 
liLxury, taste, and refinement, to no inconsiderable extent. 



CHAP. Vlil. 



of agents. 



the Egjqjtian commerce ; and, finally, an excise on 
manufactures, raw produce and provisions. The annual 
expenditure is calculated at £1,757,840, of which more 
than one-half is required for the army, including the 
erection of barracks and the supply of arms. About 
£90,000 is remitted to Constantinople in name of tri- 
bute ; £l4,000 is devoted to the support of the church 
and the law ; an equal sum is expended on the pilgrim- 
age to Mecca ; and nearly £200,000 on the pasha's 
household, his g-uards, and his yeomen of the palace. 

In former times the revenue passed tlirough the hands 
of the beys, who, after charging it with the expenses of 
government, were undei"stood to remit the sm-j^lus to 
Constantinople. But the diflferent agents and collectors 
managed so adroitly that the grand seignior very seldom 
touched any portion of the taxes ; on the contrary, he 
was often called upon to pay for the repairs of buildings 
and canals which were never executed. It is generally 
believed that the Mamlouks drew from Egypt, in the 
shape of public and private income, about a million and 
a half sterling. When the French were in possession of 
ihe country the imposts varied from yea,r to year accord- 
ing to the state of the war. General Reynier valued 
their average amount at aljout nine hundred thousand 
pounds sterling, or from twenty to twenty-live millions 
of francs.* 

It has not been found an easy task to ascertain the 
population of modern Eg_s^t. INI. Sylvestre de Sacy, 
Mengin, and others, have supplied certain facts, from 
which we may infer that it amounts to about two mil- 
lions and a half; but it remains doubtful whether we 
ought to include in that number the Arabs who occupy 
the deserts between the Nile and the Red Sea, or to re- 
strict it to the inhabitants of towns, and to such of the 
peasantry as are made subjects of taxation. The last of 
the authors just named, who professes to have paid great 
attention to this article of Egyptian statistics, reckons in 

• Malte-Brun, vol. iv. p. 100. 


Cairo eight persons to a house, whUe in the provinces he chap. viir. 
assigns only foiu- individuals to a family. The amount Estimated 
is aa follows : — numbers. 

Houses. InhabitaDts. 

In Cairo 25,000 200,000 

In the provincial towns of Alexandria, 
Rosetta, Damietta, Old Cairo, and 

Boulak, 14,532 58,128 

In fourteen provinces, containing 34/5 
villages, 664,168 2,256,2 72 

603,700 2,614,400 

Compared with the pompous narratives of the ancient ^."j^^jf^r^^j^^f 
historians, the present population of the great valley of accounts. 
the Nile sinks into insignificance. Before the Persian 
conquest the inhabitants, including all classes who ac- 
knowledge the authority of the Pharaohs, were estimated 
at seven millions, — a number which, if we consider the 
extreme productiveness of the country, yielding in many 
parts two crops every year, will not be pronounced al- 
together improbable. Besides, we are satisfied that the Eneroach- 
Libyan Desert now covers a great breadth of soil which desert 
was at one time under crop, and which, even in our ovm 
days, is not quite beyond the reach of irrigation by means 
of canals dra^vn from the higher sections of the NUe, — 
an expedient not unlikely to suggest itself to that ener- 
getic governor, who has already made an extensive cut 
near Elephantine in order to avoid the disadvantages of 
the Cataracts. 

It is obvious that, in a country where neither births obstacles 
nor deaths are registered, the amount of the population e°tiiimta^ 
cannot be ascertained with any degree of precision. IMr 
Lane, whose work is entitled to much confidence, states 
as his opinion, that tlie number of inhabitants at the 
present moment does not exceed two milUons.* Cairo is 

* He estimates the native Mohammedans at, ...1,750,000 

The Christians or Copts... 150,000 

Turks 10,000 

Syrians 5,000 

Greeks 5,000 

Armenians 2,000 

Jews 5,000 




CHAP. Yin. said to contain about 240,000, including all classes ; of 
Po laH whom 190,000 are supposed to be Mussulmans ; 10,000 
of Cairo. Copts ; 3000 or 4000 Jews ; and the rest strangers from 

various countries. 

The inhabitants of modern Egypt have by other 

authors been rated as follows : — 


Copts, 160,000 

Arab Fellahs, 2,250,000 

Bedouin Arabs, 130,000 

Arabian Greeks, 25,000 

Jews, 20,000 

Syrians, 20,000 

Armenians, 10, 000 

Turks and Albanians, 20.000 

Franks or Levantines 4,000 

Mamlouks, 500 

Ethiopians, kc 7,500 

In all, 2,667,000* 

Division of The Eg^-ptian people may be divided into Copts, Arabs, 

races. Turks, Greeks, Armenians, Jews, and Syrians. The first 

are the most ancient, and bear, as Malte-Brun observes, 

the same relation to the Arabs that the Gauls did to the 

Franks under the first race of the French kings. But 

the victors and the vanquished have not, as in the latter 

case, been amalgamated into one national body. The 

Moham followers of Mohammed, in their fierce intolerance, re- 

mediin duced the unhappy Greeks and Egyptians to a state of 

intolerance, p^j^f^i degradation ; forcing them to live apart from 

their proud masters, and to earn a livelihood by constant 

labour. They did not, however, peremptorily insist on 

the alternative of conversion or utter extermination, as 

the Romish Christians did with the Arabian ]\Iussul- 

Taient of the maus in Spain ; wliile the talent possessed by the Copts 

Copt* £^jj. -w-riting and keeping accounts recommended them to 

their conquerors, and at the same time supplied the 

means of perpetuating their own race. The Arab, who 

knew no art but that of war, saw that he had an interest 

in preserving them ; and hence we find that, after all 

• Modern Traveller. 

mixture of 


the contumely and oppression they have undergone, chap, viii 
their number amounts to about two hundred thousand. preg3~ 
They are seen in all parts of the country from Alexan- numbers. 
dria to the Cataracts ; but their principal residence is in 
the Said, where they occasionally constitute the inliabit- 
ants of nearly whole villages. 

Egypt has been so frequently invaded, overrun, and Frequent 
colonized, that there no longer exists in it a pure race, 
The Copts are usually regarded as the descendants of the 
true Egyptians, the subjects of Amenophis and Sesostris. 

Those writers who have gone in search of the et^ono- Etymological 
logical extraction of the name, have, as usual, arrived at researciies. 
very different results. Perhaps the opinion of D'Herbe- 
lot presents the greatest show of reason, which iden- 
tifies it with the word Kypt or Kept, a term employed 
even by the modem Copts as the designation of their 
country. In remote times JEgyptius was also written 
^goptios, in both of which forms the first syllable is an 
article. Homer, too, seems to have given the name of iiomer ana 
^gyptos to the Nile ; and, according to Herodotus, Herodotus. 
Thebes, the ancient capital, was called ^gyptus. K we 
remove the article and the Greek termination from 
-iEgoptios, — the remaining root Gopt will give the appel- 
lation by which the old possessors of Egypt are known 
to the nations of modern Europe.* 

The Coptic language, which is fuUy ascertained to Coptic 
have been the tongue of the people at large under the ia"&«aKe. 
Pharaonic dynasty, exliibits some affinity to the Hebrew 
and Ethiopic, but is now greatly mixed with Greek and 
Arabic terms. Several dialects have been detected, ac- 

" D'Herbelot, Bibl. Orient, mots Kelt, Kiht. Malte-Brun, iy. 
p. 106. Kircher's Prodroraus Koptus, p. 293. Herod. Euterpe. 

Mr Lane observes, that the name is correctly pronounced either 
Koobt or Kibt. but more commonly either Goobt or Gibt. In the 
singular, it is pronounced Koobtee or Gibtee. All of these sounds 
bear a great resemblance to the ancient Greek name of Egypt ; but 
it is generally believed that the name of Koobt is derived from 
Coptos, once a great city in Upper Egypt, now called Koopt, or, 
more commonly, Gooft, to which vast numbers of the early Chris- 
tians retired during the persecution with which their sect was visited 
ander several of the Roman eraoerors. 






Religion of 
the Copts. 

Patriarch of 

Rite of 


cording to the geograpliical situation of the tribes who 
continue to speak it, whether in the Delta or the Said. 
Its general character, we are told, consists in the short- 
ness of the words, in the simplicity of its grammatical 
modifications, and in the circumstance of expressing 
genders and cases by prefixed syllables, and not by ter 
minations, like the languages of Greece and Rome.* 

The religion of the Copts is that form of Christianity 
which was derived from the sect of the Eutychians, a 
body of heretics who sprang up in the Greek or Eastern 
church. Their head is the Patriarch of Alexandria, who, 
they maintain, sits in the seat of St Mark the Evange- 
Hst ; to whom they ascribe their conversion, and whose 
relics they were wont to exhibit. This dignitary may 
also be regarded as the superior of the Abyssinian chiis- 
tians, for he always appoints the Abuna, who is the 
highest ecclesiastical functionary among that people. 
The patriarch, though himself elected by the clergy, 
exercises an almost unlimited power, and is every where 
obeyed with the most profoimd respect. The officiating 
ministers are maintained by the bounty of their flocks ; 
but it should seem that, as their acquirements are not 
expected to be of a very high order, the process of train- 
ing is neither tedious nor expensive. The rite of ordi- 
nation proceeds on a principle similar to that of the mar- 
riage-ceremony among the ancient Romans. The can- 
didate is seized by certain priests, his fi-iends, and can-ied 
almost b}' force to the patriarch, who persists, notwith- 
standing all his pleas of unworthiness, to pronounce over 
him the usual benediction. No person can be ordained 
who is unmarried, nor when he has been ordained can 
he marry a second tune. The monks, on being admitted 
into their order, are clad in a winding-sheet, and have 
the funeral-service performed, to indicate that they we 
now dead to the world. They are bound to maintain a 

* Quatrem^re, Recherches sur la LitteratureEpyptienne. Vater 
in the Mithridates of Adelung. Zoega de Orig. et Usu Obeiis- 
eorum, sect. iv. c. 2. 


strict celibacy, as from among them the bishops are uni- chap, viu 
formly elected, — a rule which leads to a strange contrast jionid^ 
in the qualifications required in the several ranks of the celibacy. 
priesthood. The Copts practise the Jewish rite of err- Circumci 
cumcision, as well as auricular confession, and other ^°°" 
ceremonies common to the Eastern church and to that 
of the West. At Cairo, indeed, there are about 5000 
of them who have conformed to the Romish communion, 
and are receiving a suitable education under the eyes of 
certain members of the College for Propagating the 
Faith in Foreign Parts.* 

Although this people are generally regarded as the Mixed 
descendants of the ancient Egyptians, mingled with the character of 
Persians left by Cambyses, and with the Greeks who 
followed the standard of Alexander, they are described 
by travellers as having a darker complexion than the 
Arabs, flat foreheads, and hair partaking of the woolly 
character. They have also large eyes, raised at the Features, 
angles, high cheek-ljones, short though not flat noses, 
wide mouths, and thick lips. Like aU classes of men 
who have been long degraded, they are remarkable 
for cunning and duplicity, removed at once from the 
pride of the Turk and the bluntness of the Arab. They DggradaUoa 
are, in fact, an uncouth and grovelling race, and farther 
distant from civilisation and the softened habits of society 
than any of their fellow-citizens. 

The Copts are not now so much contemned and op- 
pressed by the government as they were a few years 

* A patriarch, we are told, may be appointed by his predecessor ; 
but generally he is chosen by lot, and always from among the monks 
of the convent of St Anthony, in the eastern desert of Eg^'pt. The 
bishops and principal priests, when a patriarch is to be elected, apply 
to the superior of that convent, who selects eight or nine monks, 
any one of whom he considers qualified for the high ofiBce of head 
of the church. The names of these persons are written, each upon 
a separate slip of paper, which pieces of paper are then rolled into 
the i'orm of little balls, and put into a drawer. A priest draws one 
without looking, and the person whose name is thus produced is in- 
vested with the office of patriarch. Formerly a young child was 
employed to draw the lot ; being supposed to be more under the 
direction of Heaven. Lane, vol. ii. p. 313. 



CHAP. Via 


Liberality of 

Immunity of 
the Copts. 


ago ; some of them being even rai.sed to the rank of beys. 
Before the accession of Mohammed Ali, neither Chris- 
tians nor Jews were allowed to ride on horses in Egypt ; 
but this restriction has of late been entirely withdrawn. 
A short time since, the Turks of Damascus, who are 
notorious for their bigotry and intolerance, complained 
to Ibrahun Pasha of the privilege now mentioned ; 
urging that the Moslems no longer had the power of 
distinguishing themselves from infidels. In reply, the 
warrior recommended, in a sarcastic tone, that the true 
believers, if they still wished to be exalted above the 
Nazarenes, should ride on dromedaries in the streets ; 
assurmg them that, in this respect, the others would not 
follow their example. It is added that the Copts enjoy 
an immunity, for wliich they are much envied by the 
followers of the prophet ; they are not Liable to be draft- 
ed for military service, as no Mohammedan prince wUl 
honour a Christian so far as to employ his arms against 
the enemies of the true faith.* 

The physiognomical descrij)tion given above is supplied 
by Malte-Brun, which differs not greatly from that of 
VoLney, who remarked that " both history and tradition 
attest their descent from the people who were conquer- 
ed by the Arabs, — that is, the mixture of Egyptians, 
Persians, and above all of Greeks, who under the Ptole- 
mies and Constantines were so long in possession of 
Egj-pt." " This," he adds, " will be rendered still more 
probable, if we consider the distinguishing features of 
this race of people : we shall find them all characterized 
by a sort of yellowish dusky complexion, which is 
neither Grecian nor Arabian : they have aU a puflFed 
visage, swollen eyes, flat noses, and thick lips ; — in short, 
the exact countenance of a mulatto. I was at first 
tempted to attribute this to the climate ; but when I 
%dsited the Sphinx, I could not help thinking the figure 
of that monster furnished the true solution of the enigma, 
observing its features to be precisely those of a negro."f 

• Lane, vol. ii. p. 327. 

t Travels, vol. i. p. 7!». 


Dr Richardsim, on the other hand, observes that, chap, viii 
neither in their features nor in their complexion, have conclusion 
the Copts the smallest resemblance to the figures of the of Dr. 
ancient Egyptians represented in the tombs at Thebes, or ' ' 
in any other part of the country ; and he accordingly sup- 
poses that they are a mixed race, bearing in their coun- 
tenances the marks of an alliance to the great Circassian 
family, and obviously distinguished from the children of 
IMizraim, the aboriginal Egyptians. The Nubians, on Nutnns. 
the contrary, resident at Elephantine, are described by 
him as perfectly black, but without possessing the least 
of the negro feature ; the lips small, the nose aquiline ; 
the expression of the face sweet and animated, and bear- 
ing a strong resemblance to that which is generally found 
portrayed in the temples and tombs of the ancient Egj'p- 
tians. He also noticed several families of a third race, Third racp. 
differing both in complexion and feature from the inha- 
l)itants of Es Souan and of Nubia. Tlieir hue was more 
of a bronze or reddish brown, resembling mahogany ; 
approaching nearer, both in feature and complexion, to 
that which is called the head of the young Memnon, and 
to the figures in the tomb at Beban el Melouk, than any 
of the human race that ever fell under his observation. 
They are as different, he subjoins, from the Copt in 
Egypt, both in hue and feature, as a Hindoo is from a 

Hence it has been concluded, with considerable pro- inferences. 
babHity, that the ancient Egyptians were, as regards 
colour, blacks, although essentially distinguished in their 
physiognomy from the negro. 

The Arabs may be divided into three classes ; first. Classification 
the wild independent Bedouins who occupy the desert ; °^ ^^^ ^^^^ 
next the pastoral tribes who feed their flocks on the 
borders of Egypt and occasionally enter the cultivated 
districts ; and, lastly, the peasants or Fellahs, who de 
vote themselves to agriculture and the arts, and are the 
principal inhabitants of the villages both in Upper and 

• Travels, vol. i. pp. 90, 361 





cnAF. VIII Lower Egypt. This people are dLstinguished by a lively 
and expressive countenance, small sparkling eyes, short 
pointed beards, and a general angularity of form ; their 
lips, being usually open, show their teeth ; their arms 
are extremely muscular ; the whole body, in short, is 
more remarkable for agility than for beauty, and more 
nervous than handsome. The tented Arab, hovering 
with his flocks along the borders of the fertile valley of 
the Nile, is the same in character, manners, and customs, 
as he has been since the days of the patriarchs ; regard- 
ing with disdain and proud independence all other classes 
of mankind, but more particularly those of his own 
nation who in his eyes have degraded themselves by 
taking up their abodes in fixed habitations, and whom 
he calls, in contempt, the Arabs of the Walls. 

The Turks have graver features and sleeker forms, 
fine eyes, but overshaded so much as to have little ex- 
pression ; large noses, handsome mouths, good lips, long 
tufted beards, lighter complexions, short necks, a grave 
and indolent habit of body ; and in every thing an air of 
weight, which they associate -with the idea of nobleness. 

The Greeks, who must now be classed as foreigners, 
present the regular features, the delicacy and the versa- 
tility of their ancestors ; they are charged with a certain 
degree of sharpness and roguery in their mercantile trans- 
actions, qualities for which they are indebted, perhaps, 
to the oppressive domination of their Moslem conquerors. 
We are told that there are about five thousand descend- 
ants of the ancient Greek colonists, who form quite a 
distinct race from the modem Greeks. They have lost 
their original tongue, and speak a kind of Arabic ; most 
of them are mariners, but in general they pursue the 
inferior and handicraft trades. 

The Jews have the same physiognomy as in Europe, 
and are here, as well as every where else, devoted to 
the pursuits of commerce. Despised and buffeted, 
without being actually expelled, they compete with the 
Copts in the large towns for situations in the customs, and 
for the management of property belonging to the rich. 




M. Mengin reckons that there are about four thousand of chap, viii 
this singular people resident in the dominions of Moham- xunibeTof 
med Ali, three thousand of whom inhabit a part of Cairo •''^^'*- 
which bears the distinction of their name. The streets 
are so narroAv as to be almost impassable ; the houses 
are dark, crowded together, filthy, and so infectious that 
when the plague breaks out, the first inquiry is, if it has 
appeared in the Jews' Quarter.* 

Tiie spirit of improvement which distinguishes the Effects of 
reign of the viceroy has produced less change on the "mp/dve- 
extemal appearance of Cairo than on the temper and ment. 
views of its inhabitants. We have elsewhere stated that 
this celebrated city was founded in the tenth century by 
the first caliph of the Fatimite dynasty, and that the 
famous Saladin, about two hundred years afterwards, 
built the ramparts with which it is surrounded, extend- 
ing more than eighteen thousand yards in length. In 
ascending the Nile the traveller arrives first at Boulak, 
the port of the capital, where the vessels are moored 
that come from the coast ; and farther south is Old Cairo, Old Cairo, 
at which there is a harbour for the reception of the 
traders which descend from Upper Egypt. Between these 
two ancient towns is Cairo, properly so called, removed 
from the river about a mile and a half, and stretching jj-gw Cairo, 
towards the mountains of Mokattam on the east, — a 
distance of not less than three miles. It is encircled 
with a stone wall, surmounted by fine battlements, and 
fortified with lofty towers at every hundred paces. 
There are three or four beautiful gates buUt by the 
Mamlouks, and uniting a simple style of architecture 
with an air of grandeur and magnificence. 

But in this vast metropolis we find only one regular Domestic 
street, narrow and unpaved. The houses, like all others in arciutecture. 
Egypt, are badly built of earth or indifferent brick, and 
are only distinguished by being two or three stories 
high. Lighted by windows looking into back-courts or 

• Mengin, Histoire de I'Egypt. Malte-Bnin, vol. iv. Malus 
Alemoire sur I'Egypt. Denon, i. 88. Hssselquist, Voyage, p. 68. 



CHAP. VI 11. 

llosqne of 



Canal at 

Its import- 



The lotus. 

quadrangles, they appear to a stranger like so many 
prisons, though the general aspect is a little relieved by 
a number of large squares and many fine mosques. That 
of Sultan Hassan, built at the bottom of the mountain 
on which the citadel is placed, is in the form of a paral- 
lelogram, and of great extent ; a deep frieze goes all the 
way round the top of the wall, adorned with sculptures 
which we call Gothic, but which were introduced into 
Europe by the Arabians who invaded Spain. The out- 
line of the city is nearly that of a quadrant, being 
square towards the north and east, and circular towards 
the south and west. 

Cairo is traversed by a canal which issues from the 
Nile a little beloAV the old town, and, having passed 
through immense and innumerable heaps of i-ubbish, 
enters the modern capital on the south side, goes out at 
the north, and winding round the wall, makes a second 
entrance on the west, and terminates in the Bkket el 
Esbequier. This artificial river is of the greatest conse- 
quence to the inhabitants ; for, besides furnishing them 
while the inundation continues with an abundant supply 
of water for all the purposes of domestic life, it affords the 
means of replenishing a variety of small lakes, both in- 
side and outside the walls, on which they ply their plea- 
sure-boats, and enjoy a variety of other recreations 
Buited to their indolent luxury or to the softness of then- 
delicious climate. On the borders of these, especially 
within the town, may be seen in an evening fireworks 
pouring their light into the air, dancing-dogs, dancuig- 
monkeys, dancing-girls, and all the people making 
merry and rejoicing, as in the days of old when the Nile 
had attained its due elevation, and promised to bless 
tlieir fields with an ample increase. In one of these 
sheets of water is observed the lotus, — that mysterious 
plant so highly esteemed by the ancient Egyptians, the 
flower of which contrasts so beautifully with the liquid 
ground on which it reposes, as well as with the arid 
waste by which it is surrounded. 

The citadel, which occupies part of the ridge of Mo- 



kattam, is a place of considerable strength, but, like CHAP. vin. 
most other ancient buildings in Egypt, greatly encum- xhe citadel 
bered with ruins. The palace of the pasha is not wor- 
thy of notice on any other account than as being the 
residence of so distinguished a person when he chooses 
to live in his capital. It is a small house, plain, and Palace of tUo 
without any exterior decoration, except that it has^^* ^ 
more glass-windows in front than Turkish dwellings 
usually exhibit. The Well of Joseph, in the middle of 
the fortress, calls us back to the twelfth century, the 
era of the renowned Saladin, by whom it was exca- 
vated, and whose name, Yousef, it continues to bear. It Well of 
is about 45 feet in circumference at the top, and is dug •^"^^P^ 
through the soft calcareous rock to the depth of about 
270 feet, where it meets a spring of brackish water on a 
level with the Nile, from which indeed it is derived, — 
owing its saline impregnation to the nature of the soil 
through which it has filtered. The water is raised in 
buckets by means of two wheels turned by oxen, — the 
one being on the surface of the ground, the other at the 
depth of 150 feet. The main use of this celebrated cistern, its usa 
besides partly supplying the garrison, is to in-igate the 
adjoinmg gardens, and keep alive the little verdure 
which adorns the interior of the fortress ; but it is jjre- 
servcd in tolerable repair, from the consideration that, 
were the place ever subjected to a siege, the stream of 
Joseph's Well would become the sole reliance of the 
troops as well as of the numerous inhabitants. 

Tlie memory of Saladin is farther associated with the Joseph's 
citadel through the medium, of a ruin called Joseph's " 
Hall, and which is understood to have formed part of the 
palace of that warhke prince. The columns, it is mani- 
fest, have been conveyed thither from some more ancient 
building at Memphis or elsewhere, being generally mo- 
nolithic, tall, and massy, and adorned with highly- 
wrought capitals. In the days of Saracenic magnificence, 
this must have been a truly splendid edifice, meriting in 
some degree the praises bestowed upon the royal resi- 
dences of that aspiring and ingenious people. But it is 


CHAP. vilL now in a very dilapidated condition, part being con- 
jfodern" verted into a magazine, and part used as a granary ; 
degradation, wliile the whole has such a waste and mournful appear- 
ance, as to be, in truth, more desolate and less interest- 
ing than if it were a complete ruin.* 
Effects of But, in describing Joseph's Hall, we apprehend that 

explosion. '"'^ liSLve spoken of an architectural relic which no longer 
exists. In the year 1824, the citadel was much shaken 
by the explosion of a magazine ; whence arose the ne- 
cessity of a thorough repair in several of the remaining 
buildings of the fortress. Among the ruins pointed out 
Rninsof for demolition were the shattered walls of Saladin's 
palace? * palace ; on the site of which was about to be erected a 
quadrangle, meant probablj' for the better accommoda 
tion of the troops. The roof of this edifice, which might 
long have withstood the ravages of time, was very much 
admired. It was formed of a succession of little domes 
made of wood, into which were introduced concave 
circles containing octagons of blue and gold. The comers 
and arches of the buildings were carved in a very supe- 
rior manner, and in many places the colours and gilding 
continued perfectly bright. 
Kecropoiis of Cairo, although it cannot boast of an origin so ancient 
^'^° as that of Thebes, nor of a mj'thology which connected 

the present life so closely with the next, has neverthe- 
less a city of tombs ; a necropolis on which has been 
lavished much treasure, combined with a certain portion 
of architectural taste. The desert towards the east is 
studded with sepulchres and mausoleums, some of which 
iiosiem produce a very striking effect. As ever^' Turk through- 
out the empire, from the grand seignior to the meanest 
peasant, is compelled to be of some profession ; and 
as every calling has its peculiar head-dress, which is re- 
presented on a pole at the grave of the deceased, — a 
burial-place in a Moslem country has necessarily a sin- 
gular appearance. The celebrated tombs of the Mam- 
louks are going fast to decay, their boasted magnificence 

* Richardson, vol. i. p. 48. 



being now limited to a gilt inscription ; but, in order that CHAP. Vllt 
the reader may be enabled to form a judgment as to Tombs of the 
their grandeur in former days, we insert a drawing taken siamiouks. 
from the voluminous work on Egj'pt published by the 
imperial government of France. 

The cemetery of the pasha is the most sumptuous of Cemeterj- of 
modem structures in the Necropolis of Cairo. It is a ^^^ P^siia. 
vaulted stone biiilding, consisting of five domes, under 
which, in splendid chambers composed of marble, are laid 
the bodies of his two sons, Toussoun and Ishmael, and of 
his favourite Avife, the mother of these youths. Having His favourite 
mentioned this lady, it may not be out of place to add ^^'^'^* 
that she possessed an astonishing degree of influence over 
her impetuous husband, Avho always regarded her as the 
foundation of his good fortune. She was much esteemed 
too, and beloved by the people ; for her power was uni- 
formly exerted on the side of justice and mercy. Much Herinfluence 
of her time was occupied in receiving petitions, though ""^ po^er. 
it was seldom necessary for her to present them to the 
pasha, as her ascendency was too well known by the 
ministers to require this last appeal. If, however, in 
consequence of any demur on their part, she had to apply 
to him, he answered their remonstrance by saying, — 
" 'Tis enough. By my two eyes ! if she requires it, 
the thing must be done, be it through fire, water, or 

Mohammed Ali generally resides at Shoubra, where Palace at 
he has built a splendid palace, and planted a garden ^'^°"''™- 
after the European fashion. The ceilings, executed by 
a Grecian artist, are lofty and vaulted, ornamented with 
gold and with representations of landscapes, or of palaces 
and colonnades, the whole being painted in light and 
pleasing colours. The sultana's private sitting-room is Sultana's 
still more magnificent. During the heats of summer "P^'^'^^nL 
his highness occupies an apartment below, particularly 
adapted for coolness, having a marble fountain in the 
centre amply supplied with a constant stream of water. 
On one of the walls is inscribed, in large Arabic charac- 
ters, a verse from the Koran, signifying " an hour of 
justice is worth seventy di^js of prayer." 





rients of the 

The garden- 

state of 

and anarchy. 

But the chief embellishment of the place is a grand 
pavUion, about 250 feet long by 200 broad. On its 
sides run four galleries or colonnades, composed of elegant 
pillars of the finest white marble, surroimding a sunken 
court six feet deep, paved throughout with the same 
beautiful material. At each corner of the colonnade is 
a terrace over which water passes into the court below 
in a murmuring cascade, having on its ledges figures of 
fish, sculptured so true to nature that they appear to 
move in the flo^;^^Jlg stream. The whole supply of 
water rises again through a fountain in the centre, and 
reappears in a beautiful jet-d'eau, lofty, sparkUng, and 
abundant. In fine weather the pasha occasionally re- 
sorts to this splendid fountain with the inmates of his 
harem, who row about in the flooded court for the 
amusement of his highness, while he is seated in the 
colonnade. Great is the commotion when the ladiej 
descend into the garden. A signal is given and the 
gardeners vanish in a moment. ]\lrs Lusliington was 
stinick with the ruddy cheeks and healthy appearance 
of these men. They are principally Greeks ; and the 
gay colours of their fanciful costume, — each with a nose- 
gay or bunch of fruit in his hand, — combined with the 
luxuriant scenery around, gave them more the semblance 
of actors in a ballet representing a fete in Arcadia than 
the real labourers of a Turkish despot.* 

This chapter would be incomplete were we not to 
compare what Egj'pt is at present with what it was at 
the beginning of the century. 

When Mohammed assumed the command anarchy 
reigned in every department. The country was dis- 
tracted by the conflicting pretensions of the Mamlouks, 
aided by the Bedouin Arabs, the Albanians, and the 
Turks, with many rival chieftains. The soldiers were 
mutinous ; the finances were exhausted ; property was 
insecure ; agriculture Avas neglected ; and commerce 
languished. But now every thing is improved ; the 
wild Arabs are submissive ; the military are controlled, 

• ^'arrative of a Journey p. 128 



lodged in barracks or tents, and regularly paid ; the chap. viii. 
finances prodigiously increased ; new articles of produce PresenT 
raised ; and trade carried on to an extent formerly un- order and 
known. The whole country from Alexandria to Syene tion. 
is perfectly tranquil, and travellers pass unmolested with 
as much freedom and safety as on the continent of Eu- 
rope. It is not pretended that the viceroy has not his ciiaractcr of 
failings : he has many : but to estimate his character '^® viceroy. 
he should be judged by the standard of other Moham- 
medan princes ; of the pashas of Syria or Turkey for 
example ; — and which of all these can be compared to 
liim ? It is heirdly fair to try him by our notions of 
excellence, where every thing, — custom, religion, go- 
vernment, — is so different. His defects are those of 
education and example ; his improvements are the fniit 
of his own genius and patriotism.* 

The latest intelligence from Egypt describes the pasha Progress of 
us still engaged in furthering the general improvement ^g^T^^ 
of his country, as well as the dissemination of knowledge 
Among all classes of his subjects. We are told that he 
has proceeded so far in his imitation of European man- 
ners as to have instituted a legislative assembly, in which introduction 
he not only permits the discussion of political principles, cu^qq"^^'*" 
but even the examination of his own measures in the 
exercise of government. So confident is he in the wis- 
dom or equity of his administration, that he hesitates 
not to invite the scrutiny of the ablest men in his domi- 
nions, and to submit to their revision Ids system of 
finance, commerce, and criminal jurisprudence. 

Perhaps the reports daily received in Europe respect- 
ing the general advance of civilisation among the inha- 

• Quarterly Review, vol. xxx. p. 508. Mr Came remarks, that 
the firm and decisive character of Jlohammed is in nothing more 
visible than in the perfect security and quietness that reign through- 
out his dominions. The traveller there dreams no more of violence 
than he would do in any town throughout Scotland or Wales ; from 
the capital to the Cataracts every man's hand is at peace with him, 
and he may ramble along the banks of the Nile with as entire an 
ease and abandon as on those of his native rivers, or in his own gar- 
den at home. — Recollections of the East, p. 284. 






will of the 


Imitation of 



bitants of Egypt, must be allowed to partake of that 
very natural exaggeration which seems inseparable from 
a narrative of unexpected events, Mr Lane, whose 
means of information cannot be questioned, assures us 
that the manners of western nations have not yet spread 
to any great extent among the subjects of the Egyptian 
\'iceroy, though the higher classes every where show 
a disposition to lay aside their prejudices in favour of 
ancient customs and modes of living. 

With regard to the legislative assembly, said to have 
been instituted by his highness, the slightest glance at the 
actual state of the government will convince every one 
that there does not exist any deliberative body which can 
with propriety be described as a popular rejjresentation. 
The will of the pasha is still absolute ; but it is admitted 
that he has eflFected a great reform, by the introduction 
of European tactics, military and naval, the results of 
which have already been considerable, and will yet be 
more extensive. By convincing the Turks that our 
science is vastly superior to theu- own, the changes to 
which they have recently submitted have made them 
more desirous to learn the full extent of our acquire- 
ments, whether in theory or in jjractice. 

There is a circumstance which, however little valued 
by the unreflecting mind, is considered by the more 
philosophical among the Moslems as extremely porten- 
tous, while it is hailed by Christians as an omen of 
brightest promise. The affluent orders in Egypt have 
been led to imitate the Franks in then- luxuries ; several 
of the more aspiring families began b}' adopting the use 
of the knife and fork ; the habit of openly di-inking 
wine immediately followed, and has become common 
among the higher officers of the government. That a 
remarkable indifference to religion is indicated by this 
innovation is evident to all ; and the principles of the 
dominant class will undoubtedly spread among the in- 
ferior orders of the community. The former have begun 
to undermine the foundations of Islamism : the latter 
as yet seem to look on with apathy, or at least witli 



resignation to the decrees of Providence ; but they will chap, via 
probably soon assist in the work, and the overthrow of 
the whole fabric may reasonably be expected to ensue 
at a period not very remote. 

The acquisition of a powerful empire, independent of Aim of the 
the Porte, appears to have been all along the grand and ^^ ^ 
almost the sole object of the pasha ; and with that view he 
has introduced many European sciences, arts, and manu- 
factures, which have hitherto rather occupied than en- 
riched his people. He has established a printing-office ; 
but the works which have issued from it have hardly Military 
any intention besides that of instructing his officers, naval, scii>^™«;3- 
military, and civU. A newspaper is printed at an- 
other press ; its paragraphs, however, are seldom on any 
other subject than the affairs of the government. It is in 
Turkish and Arabic. Sometimes three numbers of it 
appear in a week ; at other times only one is published 
in a month. 

It is not denied even by his most ardent admirers that Evils of iiia 
the policy of Mohammed Ali is in several respects erro- ^° '*^^' 
neous, and that his people are severely oppressed ; but 
it is at the same time admitted that the circumstances 
in which he has been placed offer large excuses for his 
conduct. To judge of his character fairly, we should True mode 
compare him with another Turkish reformer, his nomi- o^J"^g'°s "' 
nal sovereign, the sultan ; and it wUl be found that in 
every point of view he has shown great superiority to 
him, especially in the discipline of his troops. While 
the latter has been closely imitating Europeans in mat- 
ters comparatively trivial, such as the dress and appoint- 
ments of his soldiers, the pasha has attaiued much more 
important objects. It is, however, greatly to be desired, Sources of 
for the relief of the natives, who now suffer much in ^^ ^ 
consequence of his ambitious projects, that he were either 
acknowledged an independent prince, or induced to join 
cordially with the Porte in some scheme of general im- 
provement, applicable to their subjects on both shores 
of the Mediterranean. For the sake of Egypt, so long 
the prey of anarchy and revenge, we hope that no event 


CEIAP. VIII. will occur to check the progress of civilisation, or to re- 

— plunge it into hopeless ignorance and civil broils. 
Influence of It is manifest that its prosperity depends in a great 
of the naer^*" measure upon the character of the person who shall 
succeed the present viceroy. Ibraliim his son, and the 
Defturdar, who is his son-in-law, will probably divide 
his choice. The former is more likely to obtain his re- 
commendation, as well as the sanction of the Sublime 
Porte, because he is more friendly than the other to the 
regeneration which has been effected throughout the 
country with results so favourable even to the supreme 
government. Should the election fall on the husband of 
All's daughter, the consequences will be deplorable ; for, 
it is said, he is not only a decided enemy to the Franks 
and to the late innovations, but regards them botli with 
the eye of a bigoted Mussulman. 



The Oases, Ancient Berenice, and Desert of the TJtebaid. 

Meaning of the Term Oasis — Those of Egypt described in various 
and opposite Colours — Used as Places of Exile — Their Number 
— The Great Oasis — Described by Sir A. Edmonstone — Ancient 
Buildings — Necropolis or Cemetery — Supposed Origin of such 
Land — Western Oasis — First visited by Sir A. Edmonstone — 
El Cazar— Soil— Position— The Little Oasis— El Kassar— Greek 
Temple— Fountain— El Haix— El Moele — Oasis of Siwah— De- 
scription of Towns — Of the Temple of Jupiter Ammon — Foun- 
tain of the Sun — Sacred Lake — Other Oases — Desert of the The- 
baid — Berenice — Trade — Account of an imaginary City by Cail- 
liaud — Situation and Extent of Berenice — Emerald Mountains — 
Present Condition of Miners — Inhabitants of the Desert — Shai-- 
kin — Myos Hormus — Cosseir. 

The territory of Egj^pt includes certain fertile spots in chap. IX 
the Libyan Desert, wliicli, from the peculiarity of their Tprritorv of 
situation, amidst an ocean of sand, have been denomi- Egypt ' 
nated islands. The term oasis, in the ancient language 
of the country, signifies an inhabited place, a distinction 
sufficiently intelligible when contrasted with the vast Tiie oasis. 
wilderness around, in which even the most savage tribes 
have not ventured to take up their abode. It has been 
observed at the same time, that as this descriptive epi- 
thet is applied to a cluster of oases as well as to a single 
spot of verdant ground, the use of it has become some- 
what ambiguous. In this respect, indeed, they bear a 
striking resemblance to islands in the great sea, where 
one of larger size is usually surrounded by others of 
smaller dimensions ; all taking their name from some 
circumstance, geographical or physical, which is com- 
mon to the whole. % 





Greek ami 



Tlie Great 

Its descrip- 

Like Egypt itself, tliese isolated dependencies have 
been depicted in very opposite colours by different writers. 
The Greeks called them the Islands of the Blessed ; and 
without doubt they appear delightful in the eyes of the 
traveller who has, during many painful weeks, suffered 
the privations and fatigue of the desert. But it is well 
known that they were generally regarded in a less 
favourable aspect by the Greeks and Romans, who not 
unfrequently fixed upon them as places of banishment. 
The state-malefactor, and the ministers of the Christian 
church, too often comprehended in the same class, were, 
at various periods, during the second and third centuries, 
condemned to waste their days in the remote solitude of 
the Libyan Oases. These were usually reckoned three 
in number ; the Great Oasis, of which the principal 
town is El Kargeh ; the Little Oasis, or that of El Kas- 
sar ; and the Northern Oasis, more frequently called 
Siwah. To these is now added the Western Oasis, 
which does not appear to have been mentioned by any 
ancient geographer except Olympiodorus, and which was 
never seen by any European until Sir Ajcliibald Edmon- 
stone visited it about fifteen years ago. 

The Great Oasis, the most southern of the whole, con- 
sists of a number of insulated spots, which extend in a 
line parallel to the course of the Nile, separated from 
one another by considerable intervals of sandy waste, 
and stretching not less than a hundred mUes in latitude. 
M. Poncet, who examined it in 1698, says that it con- 
tains many gardens watered with ri\Tilets, and that its 
palm-groves exhibit a perpetual verdure. It is the first 
stage of the Darfur cai'avan, which assembles at Siout, 
being about four days' journey from that town, and 
nearly the same distance from Farshout. The exertions 
of Browne, Cailliaud, Edmonstone, and Henniker, have 
supplied to the European reader the most ample details 
relative to this interesting locality, which, there can be 
no doubt, must have been the scene of civilized life, and 
perhaps of political institutions, at a very remote era. 
A.n interesting account of the architectural ruins of 


tlie Great Oasis is to be found in the pages of Sir Ar- chap, ix 
chibald, who tells that, about a mile and a half to- RnJnTof the 
wards the north of El Kargeh, he observed on an emi- Oasis. 
nance a building, which proved to be a small quadran- 
gular temple, 31 feet long by 21 broad, of which three 
sides are still remaining. The interior walls are covered 
with figures and hieroglyphs, greatly defaced, but of 
distinguished elegance. There was the usual enclosure 
of unburnt brick, — a defence necessary in a country so 
much exposed to hostile incursions as this has always 
been. From hence he discovered a larger temple at a 
short distance to the north-west, and on a high ground 
stUl farther in the same direction several buildings like 
the ruins of an Arab town. On approaching the former 
edifice, he was struck with the beauty of its situation, 
in the midst of a rich wood, consisting of palm, acacia, 
and other trees, with a stream of water in front. 

In point of magnitude it far exceeded any thing he Great tomp!a 
had hitherto seen. The entry is through a dromos, of 
which the enclosures are so broken that it is difficult to 
discern the shape. He could distinguish, however, that 
it had been formed by a parapet wall surmounted with 
a cornice, connecting ten columns, with spaces on eacli 
side to admit an easy approach. The temple stands east 
and west, and a rich frieze runs all round the top. The 
front is completely covered with colossal figures and Figures and 
hieroglyphical inscriptions, which, as they extend but inscriptions, 
half-way to the north and south sides, give the whole 
exterior rather an unfinished appearance. The great 
doorway is much ornamented, and leads to a magnificent 
apartment, 60 feet by 54, with twelve columns, 13 feet 
in circumference. The second chamber, 54 feet by 18, interior. 
is divided from the first by a sort of screen, formed by a 
wall lower than that of the temple, intersected by four 
columns, which, together with four others in the centre 
of the apartment, now fatUen, are of the same size with 
those above mentioned. The chamber is traced all over 
with figures and other carvings on stucco, retaining 
marksi of paint, particularly blue and red ; whereas the 




CHAP. IX. first is quite plain, except on the west side. The third 
apartment, 31 feet by 29, is ornamented likewise, and 
contains eight columns, but of much smaller dimensions 

Adytum. than the others. Last comes the adytum, or shrine, 20 
feet by 8, richly carved, though blackened with smoke. 
On each side are two compartments detached, but so 
choked up that it was impossible to ascertain their shape. 
The roof of the rest of the building is fallen in, except 
some slabs occasionally supported by pillars ; but that of 
the adytum, which is lower, is still entire. One of the 
stones used for covering this sanctuary is 35 feet by 19 
feet four inches, and t^vo feet three inches thick. 

To the east of the temple are three detached doorways, 
at different intervals, and of different proportions. As 
they do not resemble the propyla which are usual in 
other parts of Egypt, Su' Archibald is of opinion that 
this edifice was originally surrounded with a triple wall, 
in the manner described by Diodorus as applical)le to 
the fane of Jupiter Amnion. The first is a solid build- 
ing with figures all round it ; among others, on the in- 

tion of Osms. gj^jg^ jg ^ colossal representation of Osu-is at a banquet. 
The same is again found on the western front. On the 
roof are four spread eagles or vultures, painted red and 
blue. The second doorway, which is at some distance 
in the same direction, but not in the same line, is con- 
siderably higher than even the temple itself. Only one- 
half is standmg, having a few figures inside carved in 
relief, and some remains of brickwork strongly piled on 

Conjectures *'^® *°P* -^^ ^* ^^ ^^^ ^^e^^ ^^^ ^^Y purposes of defence, 

regardingthe a conjecture has been advanced, that it may have been 
the residence of one of the Stelite hermits, of whose 
superstitious practices many traces still remain. The 
last of the three propyla is low and imperfect ; but it is 
remarkable for an inscription in Greek letters, with 
which the eastern end is completely covered, contauiing a 
rescript, published in the second year of the Emperor 
Galba, relating to a reform in the administration of 
In regard to what appeared at first as the ruins of an 



Arab town, we are informed, that, upon a closer exami- chap. ix. 
nation, it proved to be a necropolis or cemetery, consist- .j"" 
ing of a great variety of buildings, not fewer than two or necropolis 
three hundred, each the receptacle of a number of mum- 
mies. Most part of them are square, and surmounted 
with a dome similar to the small mosques erected over 
the tombs of sheiks ; liaving generally a comdor run- 
ning round, which produces an ornamental effect very 
striking at a distance, and gives them a nearer resem- 
blance to Roman than to any existing specimen of Greek 
or Egyptian architecture. Some few are larger than the 
rest. One, in particular, is divided into aisles like our n^^^„^ qj- ^ 
churches ; and that it has been used as such by the early christian 
Christians is clearly evinced by the traces of saints paint- '^^^'^^ 
ed on the walls. In all of them there is a Greek cross, 
and also the celebrated Eg^'ptian hieroglyph, the crua> 
ansata, or cross with a handle, which, as originally 
signifying life, would appear to have been adopted as a 
Christian emblem, either from its similai'ity to the shape 
of the cross, or from its being considered the sjonbol of 
a future existence. But the chief peculiarity is a large 
square hole in the centre of each, evidently for the pur- 
pose of containing a mummy, and which, from the frag- 
ments and wrappings that lay scattered about, had pro- 
bably been ransacked for the sake of plunder. Edmon- j, . 
stone imagines these sepulchres to have been constructed Roman . 
by the Romans at an early period, since it is generally °'"'Si"-. 
believed that the practice of embalming was gradually 
discontinued in Egypt after tbe extension of Christianity ; 
but he adds, " among the various receptacles for the 
remains of the dead, from the stupendous pyramid to the 
rudest cavern, I know of none existmg or recorded a 
aU corresponding to them in shape and appearance."* 

Tliere are several other ruins in the neighbourhood of p^j^^ ^^ 
El Kargeh, which appear to combine the relics of Egyp- El Kargeh. 
tiaii paganism with the symbols of Christian worship. 

* Edtnonstone's Journey to Two of the Oases of Upper Egypt, 
p. 62, &c. 




Sir F. Henni- 
ker's descrip- 

appearance of 
the soil. 

Origin of 



Source of 

for fertility. 

and thereby lead us to conclude that the edifices may 
have been repau-ed m the early ages of our faith after 
being relinquished by their ancient occupants. For a 
more minute accoimt of these remains we take leave to 
refer the curious reader to the work already indicated. 

Sir F. Henniker speaks rather contemptuously of the 
ecclesiastical architecture which happened to faU under 
his notice in that oasis. There is a temple which he 
describes as a small building composed of petty blocks of 
stone, the pillars of which are onlj^ two feet six inches 
in diameter, and " even these, instead of being formed of 
one solid block, are constructed of millstones." He 
adds, that the surface of the earth in the vicinity of the 
temple is very remarkable ; it is covered with a lamina 
of salt and sand mixed, and has the same appearance as 
if a ploughed field had been flooded over, then frozen, 
and the water dra^vn off from under the ice.* 

This remark suggests a question relative to the origin 
of these grassy islands in the desert. IMajor Rennell 
thinks that they may be attributed to the vegetation 
which would necessarily be occasioned by springs of 
water ; the decaying plants constantly producing new 
soU untU, in some instances, it has increased to the ex- 
tent of several leagues. They are universally surround- 
ed by higher ground, — a circumstance which accounts 
for the abundance of moisture. Fezzan, in particular, 
is nearly encircled with mountains ; and the descent 
from the western barrier of Egypt into the middle 
level of the Greater Oasis is distinctly marked by Mr 
Browne. Their fertility has always been deservedly 
celebrated. Strabo mentions the superiority of their 
wine ; Abulfeda and Edrisi the luxuriance of the palm- 
trees ; and our poet Thomson extols 

" the tufted isles 

That verdant rise amid the Libyan wild." 

Summer, v. 912. 

The climate, however, is extremely variable, especi- 

• Notes, p. 188. 



ally in winter. Sometimes the rains in the Western chap. ix. 
Oasis are very abundant, and fall in torrents, as appears y^ .~rj~ 
from the furrows in the rocks ; but throughout the sea- climate, 
son Sir A. Edmonstone made his visit, there was none at 
all, and the total want of dew in the hot months suffi- 
ciently proves the general dryness of the atmosphere. 
The springs are all strongly impregnated with iron and 
sulphur, and hot at their sources ; but, as they continue 
equally full during the whole year, they supply to the 
inhabitants one of the principal means of hfe. The 
water, notwithstandmg, cannot be used until it has been 
cooled in an earthen jar. 

It was in 1819 that the author we liave just named, in journey in 
company with two friends, Messrs Houghton and Master, ti'^ Liiiyan 
joined a caravan of Bedouins at Beni Ali, and entered 
the Libyan Desert, proceeding towards the south-west. 
At the end of six days, having travelled about one hun- 
dred and eighty miles, they reached the first village of 
the Western Oasis, which is called Bellata. Having ex- 
plained to the inhabitants that their object was " old 
buildings," they were informed that there were some in 
the neighbourhood. " Accordingly," says Sir Archi- y^^^^^ ^f 
bald, " in the evening we rode to see them, and in our ;icacias. 
way passed through a beautiful wood of acacias, the foli- 
age of which, at a little distance, recalled English scenery 
to our recollection. The trees far exceeded in size any I 
had ever seen of the kind, and upon measuring the trunk 
of one it proved to be 17 feet 3 inches m circumference.* 

El Cazar, however, appears to be the principal town -^ cozht. 
of the oasis. The situation of the place, we are told, is 
perfectly lovely, being on an eminence at the foot of a line 
of rock which rises abruptly behind it, and encircled by 
extensive gardens filled with palm, acacia, citron, and 
various other kinds of trees, some of which are rarely 
seen even in those regions. The principal edifice is an 
old temple or convent called Daer el Hadjur, about fifty 
feet long by twenty-five wide, but presenting nothing 

• Journey to Two of the Oases, p. 44. 




Daer el 

VUlatces of 
the oasis. 

Character of 
the soil. 

of indigo. 


either very magnificent or curious. The first chamber 
is 24 feet by 20, supported by four pillars five feet in 
diameter at the shaft, — the walls, as far as they are 
visible, being traced with figures and sacred inscriptions. 
The winged globe, encompassed by the serpent, the em- 
blem of eternity, is carved over one of the doors. 

This oasis is composed of twelve villages, of which 
ten are within five or six miles of each other ; the re- 
maining two being much more distant at the entrance of 
the plain, and scarcely looked upon as belonging to this 
division. The sheik expressed his belief that there was 
inhabited land to the westward, — adding that some 
Arabs, who had lately attempted to explore the country 
in that direction, met at the end of three dsivs such a 
terrible whirlwind as compelled them to return. 

The prevailhig soil is a very light red earth, fertilized 
entirely'' by irrigation. The people are Bedouins, who 
acknowledge the sovereignty of the pasha, and pay an 
annual tribute. The only manufacture worthy of notice 
is that of indigo, the method of producing which is very 
simple : the plant, when dried, is put into an earthen 
jar with hot water, and agitated by means of a palm 
branch, resembling the handle of a churn, until the 
colour is pressed out. The liquid is then strained through 
the bark of a tree into another jar, where it is left for 
eight or nine days, during which time part of the water 
escapes by trickling thi'ough a small aperture half-way 
down the side of it, leaving the sediment at the bottom. 
It is afterwards put into a broad but very shallow hole 
formed in the sand, which absorbs the remaining liquid, 
and leaves the indigo in solid cakes on the surface. This 
commodity is the property of the richer inhabitants, and 
is one of the very few articles which the pasha has not 
monopolized, probably from ignorance of its existence in 
that remote district.* 

The latitude of the Western Oasis is nearly the same 
as that of Thebes and the Great Oasis, or about 26" 

* Journey, p. 58. 


north. The longitude eastward from Greenwich may chap, ix 
be a little more or less than twenty-eight degrees, El Lonoi7nde of 
Kargeh being estimated at thirty degrees ten minutes, the Western 
and the distance between it and JScllata amounting to a 
journey with camels of thirty-five hours, or one hundred 
and five miles. We may add, that it was on his return 
from the remoter oasis to the Nile that Sir Archibald 
examined the cluster of islands of which El Ivargeh is 
the chief, and where he found the remains of the mag- 
nificent temple already described. 

The Little Oasis, or that of El Kassar, has been less ei Kassar, or 
visited than either of the two others which have been o^fsj^""® 
longest known to European travellers. We owe the 
latest and most distinct account to Belzoni, who, pro- 
ceeding in search of it westward from the valley of Fa- 
youm, arrived at the close of the fourth day on the brmk 
of what he calls the Elloah, — that is, the El Wah, or 
El Ouah, from which the Greeks formed the more com- 
mon term oasis. He describes it as a valley surrounded Reizoni's 
with high rocks, forming a spacious plain of twelve or description. 
fourteen miles in length, and about six in breadth. 
There is only a small portion cultivated at present, but 
there are many proofs remaining that it must at one 
time have been all under crop, and that with proper 
management it might again be easily rendered fertile. 
The first village he entered was called Zaboo, where he zaboa 
met with a khid reception on the whole, although the 
simple inhabitants could not comprehend why a man 
should encounter the toils and perils of the desert merely 
to gratify his curiosity in regard to old buildings. They 
endeavoured to persuade him that the devil had taken 
possession of all the vaults whit h he wished to examine ; 
and when the traveller came out they expected to find 
him loaded with treasure, — the only intelligible object 
for which, in their estimation, he could brave so formid- 
able an enemy. 

From Zaboo he went to El Kassar, the chief village in village of 
that group of oases. There he saw the remains of a £' Kassar. 
Greek temple, consisting of a high wall with two lateral 


CHAP, IX. wings, and an arcli in the centre. It is so situated that 
Greek ^^ must have been built on the ruins of another of greater 

temple. dimensions. Its breadth is about sixty feet, and its 

length, it is presumed, must have been in j)roportion. 
Tombs in the There were several tombs excavated in the rock some- 
^°'^^ what like those of Egypt, in which Mr Belzoni found 

various sarcophagi of baked clay with the mummies in- 
side, — their foiling neither so rich nor so fine, the linen 
of a coarse sort, and the bodies, being without asphaltum, 
not so well preserved. His attention was also attracted 
by the account which he had received of a well sixty 
Sin^arwell. feet deep, whose water varies in its temperature twice 
every day. When he first put liis hand into it, being a 
little after sunset, he felt it wami ; but at midnight it 
was apparently much warmer ; and before sunrise it was 
again somewhat cooler, though less so than in the even~ 
ing. " For instance," says he, " if we were to suppose 
Chanpes of the water to have been 60° in the evenmg it might be 
tempeidture. jqqo ^^ midnight, and in the morning about 80° ; but 
when I returned at noon it appeared quite cold, and 
might be calculated in proportion to the other at 40°." 
Whatever may be the cause of this apparent change of 
temperature, it was of importance to prove the existence 
of the fountain itself, as it has been described by Hero- 
dotus, who says that there is a well near the temple of 
Jupiter Amnion, the water of which is cold at noon and 
midnight, and warm in the morning and evening.* 
Occurrence of It is now kno^^^l that such fountains are not peculiar 
foimt^£dD3. ^^ ^^y *^"^ ^^ *^^^ oases, several having been discovered 
in other parts of the Libyan Desert ; and hence the 
argument of Belzoni, with regard to the situation of the 
temple of Ammon, entirely loses its force. All the 
waters in that division of Africa are strongly impreg- 
nated with saUne and mineral substances, — an example 
of which, in the form of a ri\Tilet, he records as having 
presented itself to his observation in the neighbourhood 
of Zaboo. " It is," says he, " curious water ; for if wliite 

* Researches, vol. ii. p. 218. 


woollen cloth be put into it, after twenty-four hours it chap. ix. 
is taken out as black as any dyer could make it." The chemical 
change of temperature is obviously effected by the die- character of 
mical qualities of the strata through which the spring '® ^"'s'- 
makes its way under ground, modified in a certain de- 
gree by evaporation and the presence of light during the 
heat of the day. 

As to the natives, we are told that their mode of living jf^tj^g f^^^j^ 
is very simple : rice, of wliich the}' have great abun- 
dance, is their chief food ; but it is of so inferior a sort 
that they have little traffic in it, and what portion of 
commerce they do enjoy is only among the Bedouins 
who go thither yearly to purchase dates. They have a Animaia 
few camels and donkeys, several cows, buffaloes, goats, 
and sheep, and could be happy in this Elysium, separated 
as it is from the rest of mankind ; but, subjoins Mr 
Belzoni, " they are mortal, and they must have their 
evils !" Their greatest enemies are their own neighbours Warfare, 
at another village, which they described as being on the 
opposite side of a high rock, removed from tliem three 
days' journey. They are continually in warfare, and 
often attack one another for the most trifling causes.* 

This traveller was very desirous to cross the desert pcrii of 
northwards to the Oasis of Siwah, but he could not, crossing the 


either by promises or entreaties, prevail upon any one to 
become his guide in so perilous an adventure. He then 
resolved to proceed in a south-western direction, in searcl 
of a similar distrir-t known at El Kassar by the name of 
El Haix, and situated at the distance of thirty hours' ei Ha-ix. 
journey. Upon his arrival, he found it a tract of land 
forming a crescent of more than twenty miles in extent, 
and presenting some spots of fertile ground and various 
springs of excellent water. He traced the remains of an 
ancient town, the baths of wliich are stUl in a state of Ancient 
good preservation. A Christian church of Grecian archi- '"'^'"a'"*- 
tecture, and tlie rums of a convent, were likewise clearly 
distinguished ; but as the guide selected by Belzoni was 

* Researches, vol. ii. p. 198. 






CHAP. IX. recognised at El Haix as the sheik of one of the preda- 
' tory hordes of the Bedouins, who from time to time 

cany terror over the face of the desert, a regard to hii 
personal safety induced him to shorten his visit, 
liioeie. Soon after his return to El Kassar he set out m a 

south-easterly course for a place called El Moele, where 
he once more found the ruins of a small village, and the 
remains of a very large church and convent. Some of 
the paintings on the wall are finely preserved, particu- 
larly the figures of the twelve apostles on the top of a 
niche over an altar ; the gold is still to he seen in several 
parts, and the features are perfectly distinct. El Moele 
is situated at the extremity of a long tract of land which 
was cultivated in former times, but is now abandoned 
for want of water. It extends more than ten miles from 
west to east ; from which latter point it required a long 
day's joiu-ney to bring him again to the banks of the 

We have still to mention the Oasis of Siwah, in some 
respects the most interesting of the whole, and more 
especially as connected with the traditions of Jupiter 
Ammon, whose temple it is generally understood to 
contain. It is situated in lat. 29° 12' N., and in long. 
26° 6' E. ; is about six miles long, and between four 
and five in breadth ; and the nearest distance from the 
river of Egypt does not exceed one hundred and twenty 
Chief objects miles. A large proportion of the land is occupied by 
ofcuitivation. date-trees ; but the palm, the pomegranate, the fig, the 
olive, the -vine, the apricot, the plum, and even the ap- 
ple, are said to flourish in the gardens. No soil can be 
more fertile. Tepid springs, too, holding salts in solu- 
tion, are numerous throughout the district ; and it is 
imagined that the frequency of earthquakes is connected 
with the geological structure of the surrounding country. 
" The external appearance of the town of Siwah is 
striking and smgular, as well as its internal arrange- 
ments. It is built on a steep conical rock of testaceous 
limestone, and, both in its form and its crowded popu- 
lation, bears a resemblance to a bee-hive. The streets, 

Onsis of 

TowTi of 




narrow and crooked, are like staircases, and so dark, cHAP. IX. 
from the overhanging stones, that the inhabitants use a nj^jj^"^^ ^^ 
lamp at noonday. In the centre of the town the streets the streets 
are generally five feet broad, and about eleven feet high ; 
but some are so low that you must stoop to pass through 
them. Each house has several floors, the upper com- 
municating with the lower by galleries and chambei"S 
which cover the streets. The number of stories visible Height of 
is three or four, but there are in fact five or six. On iiouses. 
every marriage the father builds a lodgement for his son 
above his own, so that the to\\Ti is continually rising 
higher. The houses and Avails are for the most part built 
of natron or mineral soda, and rock-salt mixed with 
sand, coated with a gypseous eaiih which preserves the 
Bait from melting. The town is divided into two quarters : Division of 
the upper is inhabited only by married people, women, *''^ ^°"°- 
and children ; the lower by widowers and youths, who, 
though allowed to go into the other quarter by day, 
must retire at dusk under the penalty of a fine. The 
total population of the town is between 2000 and 2500 ; 
that of the oasis at large is supposed to amount to 8000 

But a description of the temple of Amnion must prove Temple of 
more interesting to the reader than any details respect- •'^^'^oii. 
ing the mode of life pursued by barbarians. A league 
and a half, then, from the toAvn of Siwah, towards the 
east, are the ruins of an edifice built in the Egyptian 
style, to which the natives give the name of Om Beydeh. 
The vestiges of a triple enclosure, enormous stones lying 
on the ground, and masses still standing, prove it to have 
been a monument of the first order. The portion still present 
remaining and in tolerable preservation is thirty-three remains, 
feet in length, and consists of part of a gatcAvay and two 
great walls, which are covered with three immense 
stones measuring thirty- four feet by twenty-seven. 
The only apartment that could be distinctly made out 

• Modern Traveller, Egypt, vol. ii. p. 200. Cabinet of Foreign 
Voyages, voL i. 





and decora- 


Fonntain of 
tlie s-an. 

was 112 feet in length ; the whole area of rums being a 
rectangular space about 360 feet by 300. 

The decorations are observed to bear the closest re- 
semblance to those of the Egyptian monuments ; the 
figures, scenes, and arrangements, being entirely the 
same. Here is the god with the ram's head, such as is 
seen at Thebes and Latopolis, who also receives the 
homage of the priests. The ram itself, too, is the ani- 
mal that most frequently occurs among the ornaments. 
The interior and the ceiling of the apartment still stand- 
ing are richly adorned with hieroglyphic sculptures, in 
relief and coloured. The figures of the gods and priests 
form long processions, occupymg three rows, surmounted 
with a multitude of carved slabs painted blue or green. 
The same style and the same cast of countenance are re- 
marked here as in the monuments of the Thebaid, — the 
same costumes and sacrifices. The roof is occupied by 
two rows of gigantic vultures with extended wings, by 
tablets of hieroglyphs, and stars painted red on a blue 
ground. Under the ruins of the entrance-gate, and on 
two of the faces of a rectangular block, is sculptured in 
full relief the figure of Typhon or the evil genius, about 
five feet high. A similar block has been used in the 
basis of the mosque ; being without doubt the pedestals 
of columns erected after the manner of the Typhonium 
of Edfou, to which these iniins bear a resemblance, though 
on a larger scale.* 

TliLs descrijjtion, which does much credit to the pene- 
trating eyes and vivid fancy of a French traveller, the 
zealous M. Drovetti, may be contrasted with the sober 
delineation of an Englishman, who saw no more than 
was actually to be seen in the mouldering walls of the 
famous El Birbe, which bestow a profound interest upon 
the Oasis of Siwah.t 

Nearly a mile from these ruins, in a pleasant grove of 
date-palms, is still discovered the celebrated Fountain of 

* Cabinet of Voyages, vol. i. p. 205. 

t See Travels in Africa, Egypt, and Syria, by W. G. Browne. 
Second Edition, p. 14, Sec. 


the Sun, dedicated of old to the Ammonian deity. It is chap, ix 
a small marsh rather than a well, extending about ninety t. ~ . 

f ■ 1 1 • • • T T 1 • ^ Its present 

leet m length and sixty in width, but is at the same time appearance. 
perfectly transparent, though a constant disengagement 
of air reveals the chemical action which gives a peculiar 
character to its waters. At present, not less perceptibly 
than in the days of Herodotus, the temperature is sub- Diumai 
ject to a diurnal change. In the night it is apparently tempera'tura 
warmer than in the day ; and in the mornhig, as was 
observed by the ancients, a steam rises from it, denoting 
the refrigeration of the atmosphere. Close by tliis spruig, 
in the shade of the palm-grove, are the traces of a small 
temple, supposed to be the relics of the sanctuary men- 
tioned by Diodorus Siculus as being near the Fountain 
of the Sun. 

The character of the ruins now described carries back Character of 
then- date beyond the era of Chi-istianity, — an inference * "^'"'"^ 
which is confirmed by the appearance of a mountain ia 
the neighbourhood, a great part of which has been con- 
verted into catacombs. Some of these sepulchral chain- size of the 
bers are on a magnificent scale, and bear a considerable ciiambers. 
resemblance to the celebrated tombs of Thebes, having 
the same variety of apartments, and even of decoration, 
sculpture, and painting. But unfortunately none of 
them have escaped violation, and in the greater number 
nothing remauis except relics of ancient mummies, 
cnimbling bones, and torn liaen. About ten years ago 
a part of the excavations was possessed by a tribe of 
Ai-abs, who turned them into a subterraneous village. 

The interest of the traveller is still farther excited by succession of 
a succession of lakes and temples which stretch into the Jem ^e3l'^ 
desert towards the west ; all rendered sacred by religious 
associations and by the traditionary legends of the native 
tribes. Tombs, catacombs, churches, and convents, are 
scattered over the waste, which awaken the recollections 
of the Christian to the early records of his faith, and 
which at the same time recall, even to the Pagan and the 
jMohammedan, events more interesting than are to be 
found in the vulgar annals of the human race, or can 




Kasr Eoum. 

Pone archi- 

Salt lake of 

tious venera- 

Account of 
M. Drovetti 

touch the heart of any but those who are connected 
with a remote lineage by means of a family history. At 
a short distance from the sacred lake tliere is a temple 
of Roman or Greek construction, which in modem times 
bears the name of Kasr Roum. The portion still stand- 
ing is divided into three apartments, the longest of which 
is fifty feet by twenty-two, and the height eighteen feet. 
The roof, composed of large stones, is stUl remaining in 
a part of the building ; but, generally speaking, both the 
covering and the walls have fallen down. Perhaps the 
only remarkable feature attending this building is the 
fact that the architecture is of the Doi-ic order, the 
sculptures, cornices, and friezes, being executed with 
much care and precision, — a circumstance which cannot 
fail to excite surprise in a country surrounded by the 
immense deserts of Libya, and at the distance of not less 
than four hundred miles from the ancient limits of 

In the consecrated temtory of that mysterious land 
is the salt lake of Arashieh, distant two days and a half 
from Siwah, in a valley enclosed by two mountains, and 
extending from six to seven leagues in circumference. 
So holy is it esteemed that M. Cailliaud could not obtain 
permission to visit its banks. Even the pasha's firman 
failed to alter the detei-mination of the sheiks on this 
essential point. They declared that they would sooner 
perish than suflfer a stranger to approach that sacred 
island, which, according to then- belief, contained 
treasures and talismans of incalculable power. It is said 
to possess a temple, in which are the seal and sword of 
the prophet, the palladium of their independence, and 
not to be seen by any profane eye. A reasonable doubt 
may indeed be entertained as to these assertions ; for 
M. Drovetti, who accompanied a detachment of troops 
under Hassan Bej^, walked round the borders of the lake, 
and observed nothing in its bosom but naked rocks. Mr 
Browne, too, remarks that he found " misshapen rocks 
in abundance," but nothing that he could positively de- 
cide to be ruins, — it being very unlikely, he adds, that 


any should be there, the spot being entirely destitute of chap, ix 
trees and fresh water. 

Major Rennell has employed much learning to prove site of the 
that the Oasis of Siwah is the site of the famous temple ju'^uer" 
of Jupiter Amnion. He remarks that the vai-iations, Ammon, 
between all the authorities ancient and modern, amount 
to little more than a space equal to thrice the length of 
the oasis in question, which is at the utmost only six 
miles long. " And it is pretty clearly proved that no 
otlier oasis exists in that quarter within two or more 
days' journey ; but on the contrary that Siwah is sur- 
rounded by a wide desert : so that it cannot be doubted 
that this oasis is the same with that of Ammon ; and 
the edifice found there the remains of the celebrated 
temple from whence the oracles of Jupiter Ammon were 

At different distances in the desert, toward the west. Other oases. 
are other oases, the exact position and extent of which 
are almost entirely unknown to European geographers. 
The ancients, who we are satisfied had more certain 
intelligence with regard to that quarter of the globe than 
is yet possessed by the moderns, were wont to com- Ancient 
pare the surface of Africa to a leopard's skin ; the little *™''^ 
islands of fertile soil being as numerous as the spots on 
that animal. It is probable that these interesting re- 
treats will soon be better known ; for the authority of 
Mohammed Ali being recognised as far as his name is 
knowni, the traveller will find the usual facilities and 
protection which are so readily granted to the Franks 
whom an enlightened curiosit} leads into his dominions. 

The desert which bounds the eastern side of the Eastern 
Egyptian valley, and stretches to the shores of the Red 
Sea, presents likewise to the philosopher several points 
worthy of consideration. Mr Irwin, who travelled from 
Kenneh to Cairo by a road which passes obliquely 
through the northern part of this wilderness, found 

• The Geographical System of Herodotus Examined and Ex- 
plained. &c. vol. ii p. 230. Second Edition. 



spots in the 


Account of 

CHAP. IX some delightful ravines in the hilly barrier by which it 
is guarded, ornamented with beautiful shrubs, and af- 
fording a safe retreat to the timid antelope. Some tufts 
of wild wheat, a date-tree, a well, and a grotto, call to 
mind the old anchorets who chose in these solitudes to 
relinquish all intercourse with the sinful world. Two 
verdant spots of a similar character, near the Ai'abian 
Gulf, ])etween Suez and Cosseir, contain the monasteries 
of St Anthony and St Paul, surrounded with tluiving 
orchards of dates, olives, and apricots. 

But the most interesting object on the shores of the 
inlet just mentioned are the remains of Berenice, a 
town which connects the history of ancient Egypt with 
that of the I\Iacedonian and Roman power in Africa, 
and at the same time mdicates one of the channels 
through which commerce was carried on between t\e 
remoter parts of Asia and the nations of Europe. Ac- 
cording to Pliny it was through Berenice that the prin- 
cipal trade of the Romans with India was conducted by 
means of caravans, which reached the Nile at Coptos, 
not far from the point at which the present shorter 
road by Cosseir touches the river. By this medium it 
is said that a sum not less than £400,000 was annually 
remitted by them to their correspondents in the East, 
in payment of merchandise wliich ultimately sold for a 
hundred times as much. 

An exaggerated account of an ancient city, said to 
have been discovered in that neighbourhood, was pub- 
lished some years ago in a French work purporting to 
convey intelligence recently received from M. Cailliaud, 
a young traveller in Africa. The situation was de- 
scribed as being a few leagues from the Red Sea, and 
currently known among the Arabs by the name of 
Sekelle. The ruins consisted of many temples, palaces, 
and private houses still standir.g, so that they might in 
some respects be compared to the relics of Pompeii ; the 
ai-chitecture was Grecian, with some Egyptian orna- 
ments ; several inscriptions seemed to prove that the 
town must have been buUt bv the Ptolemies, while one 




of the temples was evidently dedicated to Berenice. Tlie chap, ix 
hope of examining so many splendid monuments of i„vesticii- 
ancient taste induced Belzoni and Mr Beechcy to un- tions of 
dertake a painful journey across the desert, from Esneh 
to the Red Sea ; in the course of which, after having 
inspected the surrounding country with the greatest 
minuteness, and that, too, under the direction of the 
same guide who liad attended M. Cailliaud, they had Baselessness 
the mortification to discover that the ardent Frenchman, of the report 
beguiled either by the mirage or by his own heated 
fancy, had seen towers, palaces, and temples, which to 
more ordinary observers were entirely invisible. The 
strictures of Belzoni, whose mind was entirely devoted 
to matters of fact, are more amusing than complaisant. 
" All that we saw was the summits of other lower moun- Report of 
tains, and at last we began to be persuaded that no such Beizoui. 
town existed, and that Monsieur Caliud (so he spells 
the name) had seen the great city only in his own ima- 
gination. It was rather provoking to have undertaken 
such a journey in consequence of such a fabricated de- 
scription ; and I hope this circumstance will serve as a 
warning to travellers to take care to what reports they 
listen, and from whom they receive tlieir information. 
From the accoimts of persons who are so given to ex- 
aggeration, one cannot venture on a journey without 
running a risk of being led astray and disappointed, as 
we were in our search after the said town with its eight 
hundred houses, — and very like Pompeii!" 

But his labour was at length rewarded by discovering niscover)' of 
the site of the real Berenice on the margin of the sea, Berenice, 
and at no great distance from the position in which it is 
laid down by M. D'Anville. The ruins have assumed 
the appearance of little mounds ; but the lines of tlie 
principal streets, nevertheless, may still be distinctly 
traced, and even the forms of the houses, though these 
last are for the most part filled with sand. The mate- Materials. 
rials used by the architects of Habesh were somewhat 
singular, for Belzoni assures us that he could see nothing 
but coral, .Toots, madrepore, and several petrifactions of 




Orixin of 

Account of 

Its impon- 
ance under 
Uie Romans. 


sea-weed. The temple, he adds, is built of a kind of 
soft calcareous and sandy stone, but decayed much by 
the air of the sea. 

It is well known that Berenice was founded by Ptolemy 
Philadelphus a little after the establishment of ]\Iyos 
Hormus. Situated in a lower part of the gulf, it facili- 
tated navigation by enabling mariners to take advantage 
of the regular winds. The inland route between Coptos 
and Berenice was opened at the head of an army by the 
same prince, who formed stations along the line for the 
protection of travellers. This relation, which is given 
by Strabo, agrees with the Adulitic inscription preserved 
in Cosmas, which records the Ethiopian conquests of 
Ptolemy Euergetes, wlio seems to have adopted the com- 
mercial plans of his father, and to have endeavoured to 
extend them. The Romans, when they conquered 
Egypt immediately perceived the importance of these 
arrangements ; Berenice became the centre of their 
Eastern trade, and Myos Honnus sunk to a subordinate 
rank. The onl}'' Greek author Avho gives an account of 
this emporium is the geographer just named. All the 
details, indeed, concerning the road from Coptos to 
Berenice are Roman. It occupied twelve days, and is 
estimated at 258 miles by Pliny as well as by the com- 
piler of the Peutingerian Table?. The port of Habesh, 
the name that the harbour corresponding to Berenice 
now bears, is derived from an appellation given to the 
African shore in the parallel of Syene.* 

The situation of this interesting town must have been 
delightful. The sea opens before it on the east ; and^ 
from the southern coast to the point of the cape, there 
is an amphitheatre of mountains, with a single break on 
the north-west, forming the communication which con- 
nects it with Eg}-pt. Right opposite there is a fine har- 
bour entirely made by Tiature, guarded on the east by a 
projecting rock, on the south by the land, and on the 
west by the town. The extent covered by the ruins was 
ascertained to be 2000 feet by ICOO, which was calcu- 

* Murray's Historical Account, vol. ii. p. 187. 


lated to contain 4000 houses ; but that he might " not chap. ix. 
be mistaken for another Caliud," Mr Belzoni reduces KxtenTof 
the number to 2000, which, at the rate of five to a the ruina. 
family, gives a population of about 10,000 persons, old 
and young. The temple, which measured 102 feet in 
length by 43 in width, proved to be Egyptian both m 
its plan and its architecture, having figures sculptured 
in basso relievo, executed with considerable skill, to- 
gether with many hieroglyphs. The plain that sur- E^^tensire 
rounds the town is very extensive ; the nearest point in plain. 
the mountains which form the crescent being not less 
than five miles distant. The soil is so completely moist- 
ened by the vapour from the sea as to be quite suitable 
for vegetation, and would produce, if properly cultivated, 
abundant pasture for camels, sheep, and other domestic 
animals. At present it abounds with acacias and a small present 
tree called suvara, which last grows so close to the shore giowth. 
as to be under water every high tide. Unfortunately 
there are neither wells nor springs in the neighbourhood, 
and hence a difficulty in accounting for the supply of an 
article so indispensable to a town such as Berenice must 
have been during the government of the Ptolemies. It 
is presumed that the contiguous hills afforded the means 
of answering this claim, though at j^resent no traces of 
an aqueduct can be discovered. 

From this narrative it should seem that the city which inferences 

bore the name of Ptolemy's mother was placed near the ''""^ '^'* 
«!.,., 1,1-1 narrative. 

24th degree of latitude, or in the same parallel with 

Syene. The seashore in that vicinity is fonned almost 
entirely of calcareous matter, in the shape of madre- 
pores, corals, and shells, all aggregated uito a solid mass 
like a rock, and stretching from the bank of sand which curious 
constitutes the boundary of the tide to a great distance pi'enomenon. 
into the water. A similar phenomenon occurs in Ceylon, 
where the lime held in solution at the mouths of the 
rivers combines with the siliceous and argillaceous in- 
gredients of the beach, and gives rise to a continued 
extension of the coast, as well as to those coral reefs 
which prove so dano-prous to the mariner. " All the 




Danger of 
tlie coast. 


of Brace's 

Attempt to 
re-open tlie 

Sufferinefs of 
tile miners. 

shore," says Belzoni, alludina^ to the neighbourhood of 
Berenice, " as for as we could see, was composed of a 
mass of petrifactions of various kinds." In some places 
there are beds of sand, but there is not a spot for a boat 
to approach the beach without the risk of being staved 
against the rock. 

At the distance of twenty-five miles, in a straight line 
from the Red Sea, are the famous Emerald Mountains, 
the highest of which, from a reference to its subterra- 
nean treasures, is called Zubara. These mines were for- 
merly visited by Bruce, whose account of them is amply 
confirmed by the latest authors, who, in verifying his 
statements, do no more than justice to his memory, which 
was long and ungenerously reviled. The present Pasha 
of Egypt made an attempt, in the year 1818, to renew 
the process, which had been long relinquished, for find- 
ing those precious stones so much prized by the former 
conquerors of the land. About fifty men were employed 
when Mr Belzoni passed the establishment ; but, although 
they had toiled six months, nothing was found to satisfy 
the avarice of their employer, whom, it is said, they 
execrated in their hearts. The mines or excavations 
made by the ancients were all choked up with the rub- 
bish of the roof that had fiillen in, and the labour to 
•j emove it was great ; for the holes were very small, — 
scarcely capable of containing the body of a man crawl- 
ing like a chameleon. These unfortunate wretches re- 
ceived their supply of provisions from the Nile ; but 
occasionally it did not arrive in due time, and great 
famine of course prevailed among them. The nearest 
well was distant about half-a-day's journey ; Avhence it 
is not surprising that, deprived of the necessaries of life, 
and feeling that they were doomed to be sacrificed in the 
desert, they should have repeatedly risen against their 
leaders and put them to death.* 

The great wUderness of Eastern Egj'pt is occupied 
various tribes of Arabs, who consider its different sec- 

• Belzoni, vol. ii. p. 40. 


tions as their patrimonial inheritance. Tlie Ahahdeh chaf. ix. 

rule over that portion of it which stretches from the TheAbabdeh 

latitude of Cosseir to a distant part of Nubia ; the Beni 

Wassel join them on the north ; and these again are The Beni and 

succeeded by the IMahazeh, who claim an authority as 

far as the parallel of Beni Souef. The desert, which 

comprehends the Isthmus of Suez, is in the possession of 

a fourth family, who are known by the designation of The Koo-at- 

Hoo-at-al, and sometimes by that of Atoonis or Antonis, ^'• 

derived, it is probable, from the name of the saint whose 

convent gives celebrity to the neighbourhood. 

It has been observed that this steril region exhibits po,^ ^f ^-^^ 
the form of a triangle, the apex of which is placed at legion. 
Suez, wliile the two sides rest upon the Red Sea and the 
Nila. In the parallel of Cairo the river is scarcely 
three da^^s' joumej'^ from the sea ; at Keft the distance 
is considerably increased ; farther south it becomes nine 
days' journey ; while at Syene it is computed to be 
about seventeen. This district, which from its eastern its difTerent 
situation is denominated Sharkin, — a word latinized into "''™^ 
Saracene, — is by the ancients frequently termed Arabia, 
from the similarity both of the country and the inhabi- 
tants. It has also been termed Asiatic Egypt. The 
chain of mountainous ridges which confine the eastern 
bank of the Nile is so steep and precipitous that it fre- 
quently exliibits the aspect of an artificial fortification, 
interrupted at intervals by deep and rugged ravines. 
But, as if this natural defence had not been sufficient, Ancient wail, 
the remains of a real wall, about twentj'-four feet thick, 
formed of huge stones, and running from north to south, 
is asserted to have been discovered in this desert. This 
tlie Arabs suppose to have been constructed by an an- 
cient Egyptian king, and hence the name which it con- 
tinues to bear, — tite Wall of the Old Man. The greater BaiTenness 
part of this arid desert affords no traces of animal or vege- °^ ^^^ destrt 
table life : " The bu-ds," says Dr Le^'den, " shun its torrid 
atmosphere, the serpent and the lizard abandon the sands, 
and the red ant, which resembles in colour the soil on 
which it Lives, is almost the only creature that seems to 



CHAP IS. exist among the ruins of nature. But the monasteries 
Coptic~ of St Anthony and St Paul are still inhabited by Coptic 
monasteries, monks, who, while they claim an absolute power over 
demons and wild beasts, are unable to protect them- 
selves from the wandering Arabs, — more formidable than 
either to an unarmed ascetic."* 

Towards Suez the shore is skirted by some small 
islands, which are as barren as the mainland. The prin- 
cipal of these are the JafFatines, four in number, and ar- 
ranged in the form of a semicircle. After passing Djibel 
el Zeil the harbour of Myos Hormus presents itself!, an- 
ciently selected by Ptolemy Philadelphus in preference 
to Suez. For a considerable period this was the empo- 
rium of the Arabian trade, until, as we have already 
stated, in the time of the Romans, it was supplanted by 
Berenice. Cosseir, the Leucos Portus of the geographer 
Ptolemy, has long given place to a more modern town 
of the same name, which stands in lat. 26° 7' N., and 
long. 3i° 4' E., and is said to be built among hillocks of 
moving sand. The houses are formed of clay, and the 
inhabitants, in their manners and features, have a greater 
resemblance to the Arabians of the opposite shore than 
to the native Egyptians. It now derives its chief im- 
portance from being one of the stations at which the pil- 
grims assemble on their route to the holy cities of Mecca 
and Medina.f 


Myos Hor- 


' .Murray's Histonoil Accomit of Travels La Africa, toL ii. p. 182 
t Ibid. p. i66. 



Manners and Customs of the Egyptians. 

Great Variety of Manners in Egypt — Funeral Ceremonies described 
by Diodorus — Judgment pronounced on the Dead — Civil Suits 
in Ancient Times — Account of Coptic Baptism — Levantines — 
Moslem Marriages ; Description by Mr Browne — Interior of a 
Harem -— Circassians — Ethiopian Women — Mode of Living 
among Turks; Among Europeans — Mosques — IMohammed Ali 
and Burckhardt — Language of Copts — Religion — Festival of Ca- 
lige — Virgin offered to the Nile ; A similar Custom in India — 
Female Mourners in Egypt— Dress of Ladies — Amusements of 
Cairo — Reptiles, Insects, Nuisances — Anecdote of Sir Sidney 
Smith — Reciters and Story-tellers — Opinion of Denon — Charac- 
ter of Egyptian Arabs — Houses — Mode of Life — Barbers — Doc- 
tors — Piety — Arabic ^Manuscripts — Serpent Eaters and Charm- 
ers — Magic — Dervishes — Maralouk Notions of Respectability. 

In a countr}'', the inhabitants of which acknowledge so chap, x 
many different descents, the manners and customs must y^j^;^^,, 
partake of an equal variety. The habits of the Turk, for manners iu 
example, can have little resemblance to those of the ^"^P"- 
Copt, the Mamlouk, the Bedouin, or the Jew ; for in 
points where hereditary attachments do not interfere the 
authority of religion continues to perpetuate a distinc- 
tion. Our best guides to the knowledge of modem jtonern 
Egypt are Mr Browne, Dr Hume, and ]\Ir Lane, who, "Titers, 
besides being a considerable time resident in it, were 
well qualified by their knowledge of society to supply 
an intelligible account of what fell under their observa- 
tion. In regard to the more ancient periods, it is obvious 
that we do not possess sufficient information of domestic 
life from which to furnish a narrative tliat might prove 





of the dead. 





agreeable to the general reader, who cannot be supposed 
to take much interest in the details of a superstitious 
■worship, or in the opinions of a mystical philosophy. 
We shall therefore confine ourselves to a single extract 
from Diodorus Siculus relative to the funeral rites which 
were observed in the days of the Pharaonic dynasty. 
He tells us that a talent of silver — £4.50 — was some- 
times expended in performing the last offices to a dis- 
tinguished individual. 

The relatives of the deceased, says he, announce to the 
judges, and to all the connexions of the famOy, the time 
appointed for the ceremony, wliich includes the passage 
of the defunct over the lake or canal of the Kome to 
which he belonged. Two-and-forty judges are then col- 
lected, and an-anged on a semicircular bench, which is 
situated on the bank of the canal ; the boat is prepared, 
and the pilot, who is called by the Egyptians Charon, is 
ready to perform his office ; whence it is said that Or- 
pheus borrowed the mythological character of this per- 
sonage. But before the coffin is put into the boat, the 
law permits any one who chooses to bring forwai'd ac- 
cusations against the dead person ; and if it is proved 
that his life was criminal the funeral honours are pro- 
hibited ; whUe, on the other hand, if the charges are 
not substantiated, the accuser is subjected to a severe 
punishment. If there are no insinuations against the 
deceased, or if they have been satisfactorily' repelled, the 
relations cease to give any farther expression to their 
grief, and proceed to pronounce suitable encomiums on 
his good principles and humane actions ; asserting, that 
he is about to pass a happy eternity with the pious in the 
regions of Hades. The body is then deposited with be- 
coming solemnity in the catacomb prepared for it.* 

This narrative is confirmed by various pictorial repre- 
sentations still preserved, Avhich exliibit the forty-two 
judges performing the duty here assigned to them, as 
weU as by certain inscriptions which distinctly allude to 

*Diodor. Sicul. Hist., lib. i. cap. 92 


tlie same remarkable custom. Hence is likewise esta- chap, x 
Ijlished the opinion asserted by several of the Greek liis- 
torians and philosophers, that the ancient Egyptians be- 
lieved in a future state of reward and punishment. 

At present the ceremonies attendant upon death and jiodem 
burial are considerably different. When a pious Moslem ceremonies 
feels that he is about to die, he performs, if he is able, 
the ordinary ablutions, as before prayer, that he may 
depart from life in a state of bodily purity. Nor is it 
uncommon for a ti-ue believer, when engaged in a mili- 
tary expedition, or during a long journey in the des;rt, 
to carry his grave-linen along with him. But in ordi- At the mo- 
nary cases, when a man is at the point of death, an at- ?"^"^'" 
tendant turns him round so that he may give up the 
ghost with his eyes du'ected towards Mecca. As soon as 
life appears to be extinct, those around the couch ex- 
claim, AUah ! There is no strength nor power but in God ! 
To God we belong, and to him we must return ! God 
have mercy on him ! At that moment the women of the 
family raise the cries of lamentation, uttering the most 
piercing shrieks, and calling upon the name of the 

If death takes place in the morning, the coi-pse is buried Female 
the same day ; but if it happens in the afternoon or at mourners. 
night, the funeral is postponed till the following one. 
In this case the wailing-women, or hired mourners, re- 
main in the house, and continue their lamentations dur- 
ing the hours of darkness, in company with the other 
females who bestow the unbought tribute of their grief. 

In the procession, the first place is occupied by six or Processicn. 
eight poor men, most of whom are blind, who advance two 
and two together. Walking at a slow pace, they chant, 
in a melancholy tone, the usual articles of belief, assert- 
ing that there is no deity but God, and that Mohammed 
is his apostle. Next appear the male relations and friends 
of the deceased, accompanied by individuals of certain 
religious orders. Then follow some schoolboys, one of Tiie Kora;i 
whom carries a copy of the koran, or a volume containing 
one of itsthirty sections, placed upon a kind of desk formed 




of the pro- 

ill the 


of palm-sticks, and generally covered over with an em- 
broidered silk handkerchief. These boys chant in a high 
and Hvely voice some portions of a poem, descriptive of the 
events of the last judgment. The cries of the women, the 
shrill singing of the boys, and the deep tones uttered by 
the Yemeneeyeh, or blind attendants, compose a strange 
discord, wild, and yet impressive. 

The Availing of women at funerals was forbidden by 
the Prophet, as was also the celebration of the virtues 
ascribed to the deceased. Mohammed declared that the 
good qualities thus attributed to a dead person would be 
a subject of reproach to him, if, in a future state, he was 
not found to possess them. 

When the bier is brought into the mosque, it is laid 
on the floor in the iisual place of prayer, with the right 
side towards the kiblah, or in the direction of Mecca. 
The iraaum stands before the left side of the bier, 
facing it and the kiblah, and a servant of the mosque 
at the feet, whose duty it is to repeat the words of the 
priest. The attendants of the funeral stand behind 
the imaum, the women a little in the rear of the men ; 
for on such an occasion females are seldom excluded 
from the holy house. The congregation being thus ar- 
ranged, the service is begun, in which, after certain ex- 
clamations in honour of the Prophet, is pronounced the 
following prayer : — " O God, verily this is thy servant 
and son of thy servant ; he hath departed from the re- 
pose of the world and from its business, and from what- 
ever he loved, and from those by whom he was lo%'ed in 
it, to the darkness of the grave, and to what is prepared 
fur him. He did testify that there is no Deity but Thee ; 
that thou hast no companion ; and that Mohammed ia 
thy str.'ant and thy apostle ; and thou art all-knowing 
respecting him. O God, he hath gone to abide with 
Thee ; and thou art the best with whom to abide. He 
is in need of thy mercy, and Thou art in no need of his 
punishment. We have come to Thee supplicating that 
we may be allowed to intercede for him. God, if ho 
was a doer of good, over-reckon his good deeds ; and if 


he was an evil-doer, pass over his evil-doings ; and of CHAP. X. 
thy mercy grant him thy acceptance, and spare him tne -jy,Ti^ent of 
trial of the grave and its torment ; make his grave wide the gi-ave. 
to him, and keep back the earth from his sides ; and of 
thy mercy grant him security from thy torment, until 
thou send him safely to thy paradise, thou most mer- 
ciful of those who show mercy."* 

Having uttered some exclamations similar to those General 
with which he began, the imaum proceeds, sajdng, " O supplication. 
God, withhold not from us our reward for the service we 
have done him, and lead us not mto trial after him ; 
pardon us and him, and all the Moslems, Lord of all 
creatures !" — Thus he finishes his prayer, greeting the 
angels on his right hand and left, with the salutation, Greetings. 
" Peace be on you, and the mercy of God," as is done at 
the close of the ordmary prayers. Tiien addressing the 
persons present, he says, " Give your testimony respect- 
ing hun." They reply, " He was of the virtuous." 
These rites being duly perfonned, the funeral-train pro- 
ceeds with the corpse, in the same order as before, to the 

The practice of hiring women to lament for the dead Hired 
is still observed at Cairo, to tlie great annoyance of the ^^cai'ro^ 
Frank population, whose ears reject the monotonous 
accents in which this nightly dirge is performed. Upon 
inquiry it was found that the wealthier the family the 
more numerous were the hired mourners, and of course 
the louder the lamentation, — that these singers exhi- Distortions 

bited the most frightful distortions, havin": their hair o^the 

o > o singers, 

dishevelled, their clothes torn, and their countenances dis- 
figured with paint and dirt, — that they were relieved at 
intervals by other women similarly employed, — and that 
the ceremony might thus be continued to any length. 
A principal part of their art consists in mingling with 

* It is believed that the body of a wicked man is painfully oppress- 
ed by the earth against its sides in the gvAve, thouf^h, to prevent 
this evil, the excavation is made large and left hollow. Lane, vol. 
li.p. 299. 



of a Coptie 


CHAP. X their howling such affecting expressions of praise or pity 
as may excite the tears of the relations who are collect- 
ed around the corpse.* 

Dr Hume relates, that when at Rosetta he and a 
friend were invited by a Coptic merchant to witness the 
christening of a child. On entering they were received 
by the lady of the house with great civility. She poured 
a little perfumed rose-water into their hands, from a 
bottle covered with silver filigree of very fine work ; and 
as they passed into the room they were sprinkled over 
with the same liquid. This was found to be a common 
custom in all Coptic and Levantine houses when a per- 
son makes a visit of ceremony. The apartment into 
which they were introduced was in the highest floor, 
where was a table covered with all kinds of sweetmeats 
and fruits. The mistress of the family and her sister, 
also a married lady, with her husband and other guests, 
soon made theii" appearance. The infant was completely 
swathed. The ceremony was performed by a Coptic 

Coptic ritual, priest, according to a service which he read from a manu- 
script ritual ; which, if we may trust to the description 
given by Pococke, consists in plunging the chUd three 
times into water ; after which it is confirmed, and re- 
ceives the other sacrament, — that is, the minister dips 
his finger in consecrated wine, and puts it to the infant's 

Levantines. Having mentioned the Levantines, we may add, that 
the people who go by this name are the descendants of 
Franks born in Egypt and Syria, and that they are 
thereby distinguished from the natives of European 

* Clarice's Travels, vol. v. p. 105. It is evident, as Dr Clarke 
observes, that this custom, like the caoineadk of the Irish and the 
funeral-cry of other nations, are remains of ceremonies practised in 
honour of the dead in almost every country of the earth. They are 
the same that Homer describes at the death of Hector, and they 
are frequently alluded to in the Sacred Scriptures : " Call for the 
mourning women, that they may come ; and send for cunning wo- 
men, that they may come : and let them make haste, and take up 
a wailing for us, that our eyes may run down with tears, and our 
eyelids gush out with vraters." — Jer. ix. 17, 18. 

t Walpole's IMemoirs, p. 4</'0. Puc-dcke's Travels, vol. i. p. 246, 


countries. Tlie ladies of this class imitate the Arabs irn chap. x. 
dyeing their eyelashes, eyebrows, and hair, with a dark 
colour, and dress in the costume of the higher order of 
their society. 

The Moslem maiTiages are always regulated by the Moslem 
elder females, the bridegroom seldom seemg the bride till ^^' r-at'"*- 
the day of their union. It is merely a civil contract be- 
tween their mutual friends, and signed by the young 
man and his father. There is a procession consisting of 
many persons, male and female, who accompany the 
young lady to the house of her futui-e husband, where 
she is received by her companions. As soon as the cere- 
mony is performed the women raise a shout of congra- 
tulation, which is repeated at intervals during the en- 
tertainment that follows. After tliis burst of joy they Piuceswon 
make another procession through the streets, the females 
all veiled ; and a person, mounted on a horse richly 
caparisoned, carries a red handkei'chief fixed to the end 
of a pole after the fashion of a military banner. They 
then return to the house, where they pass the remainder 
of the day and part of the night in feastmg, lookmg at 
dancing-girls, and listening to singing-men. 

Mr Browne, who witnessed the marriage of the daugh- jianiage of 
ter of Ibrahim Bey, describes it in the following terms : ^ti''ahim 

« A 1 j-1 • 1 • ^1 I? Bey's daugh- 

— " A splendid equipage was prepared in the ii,uropean ter. 
form, being a coach drawn by two horses, and ornament- 
ed with wreaths of artificial flowers, in which a beauti- 
ful slave from the harem, personating the bride (whose personation 
features were very plain), was carried through the prin- ot t^e bride. 
cij)al streets of Cairo. The blinds of the coach were 
drawn up, and the fair deputy sat concealed. The pro- 
cession was attended by some beys, several officers and 
jMamlouks, and ended at tlie house of the bridegxoom, 
wlio received her from the carriage in his arms." In 
general, the bride, who is completely veiled, walks under walMnj; 
a canopy, supported by two women, to the house of the processions, 
bridegroom. He adds that the ladies of the capital are 
not tall but well formed. The upper ranks are toler- 
ably fair, in whicli, and in fatness, consist the chief praises 



Ideas of 

Original in- 
habitants of 

Hair and 

Itarcm nf 
Hassan Bey. 



of beauty in the Egyptian climate. They marry at 
fourteen or fifteen, and at twenty are past their prime. 
For what reason the natives of hot climates ordinarily 
prefer women of large person, he acknowledges that he 
was not able to discover. Nevertheless the Coptic ladies 
have interesting features, large black eyes, and a genteel 

Speaking of the original inhabitants of Egypt, this 
author confirms the opinion given by recent travellers 
in opposition to that supported by ]\Ialte-Brun, and ob- 
viously borrowed from Volney. He admits that there 
is a peculiarity of feature common to all the Copts, but 
asserts that neither in countenance nor personal form is 
there any resemblance to the negro. Their hair and 
ej^es are indeed of a dark hue, and the former is often 
curled, though not in a greater degree than is frequently 
seen among Europeans. The nose is generally aquiline, 
and though the lips be sometimes thick, they are by no 
means uniformly so ; and, on the AVhole, a strong re- 
semblance may be traced between the form of visage in 
the modern Copts and that presented in the ancient 
mummies, paintings, and statues. 

Dr Hume was admitted into the harem of Hassan Bey, 
and saw three of its inmates. They were seated in a 
small room, on the sides of which was a divan or sofa 
covered with crimson satin, — a Turkey carpet being 
spread on the middle of the floor. The satin was fanci- 
fully embroidered with silver flowers. The ladies wore 
white turbans of muslin, and their faces were concealed 
with large white handkerchiefs thrown carelessly over 
them. When they go abroad they wear veils like the 
Arab women. Their trousers were of red and white 
striped satin, very wide, but drawn together at the ankle 
with a sUk cord, and tied under their breasts Avith a 
girdle of scarlet and silver. Something like a white silk 
shirt with loose sleeves, and open at the breast, was next 
the skin. Over all was thrown a pelisse ; one of them 

* Travels in Africa, Egypt, and Syria, p. 76. 


wore light-blue satin, spangled with small silk leaves, chap. x. 
while the two others were decked in pink satin and gold, 

" We were treated with cofiFee, and were fanned by Eeception in 
the ladies themselves with large fans, a perfume being 
at the same time scattered through the room. This was 
composed of rose-water, a great quantity of which is 
made in Fayoum. They were reserved at first, but 
after conversing with the Mamlouk who attended me 
they were less careful to conceal then- faces. Their 
beauty did not equal what I had anticipated from the Degree of 
fineness of their skins. They were inclined to corpu- '"*" ^' 
lence ; theu* faces were round and inexpressive ; but the 
neck, bosom, arms, and hands were of great fairness and 
delicacj'-. My dress seemed to amuse them very much, 
and they examined every part of it, particularly my 
boots and spurs. When drinking coffee with the Turk- 
ish officers I chanced to forget my handkerchief ; and as 
I seemed to express a desire to find it, one of the ladies 
took one from her head and presented it to me, having 
first perfumed it."* 

After tliis visit, Dr Hume, expressing to a Mamlouk Establish- 
some curiosity with respect to the female establishment "ie°t of 
of Hassan Bey, was mfonned that the whole amounted 
to more than twenty, several of whom were Circassians ; 
but he added that his master had in reality only one 
wife, wlio was not among the ladies to whom the stranger his wife. 
was introduced, and that all the others were simply her 
attendants. This arrangement is more general than is 
commonly believed, for even the Arabs usually content 
themselves with one wife ; or, when they have two, the 
second is always subservient to the first married in the 
affairs of the house. 

The Ethiopian women brought to Egypt for sale, Ethiopian 
though black, are exceedingly beautiful ; their features "^'^omen. 
being perfectly regular and their eyes full of fire. A 
great number of them had been purchased by the French 
during their stay in the country, who were anxious to 

* Walpole's Memoirs, p. 393. 



Slave market 



Wines a.^d 

dispose of them previously to tlieir departure for Europe ; 
and it was the custom to bring them to the commou 
market-place in the camp, sometimes ia boys' clothes, 
at other times in the gaudiest female dress of the Pari- 
sian fashion. The price was generally from sixty to a 
hundred dollare, while Arab women could be purchased 
as low as ten. The Circassians at all times are exposed 
to sale in particular markets or khans, and occasionally 
bring large sums of money to their O'wners. Their 
beauty, however, is not very highly prized by Euro- 
peans, who are at a loss to account for those lofty de- 
scriptions which fill the pages of oriental romance, and 
ascribe all the attractions of female form to the natives 
of one favoured portion of Asia. 

In the house of a Turk the apartments for the women 
are furnished with the finest and most expensive articles ; 
but those of the men are only remarkable for a plain 
style of neatness. They breakfast before sunrise, make 
their second meal at ten, and their third at five in the 
afternoon ; using at all times an abundance of animal 
food. A large dish of pilau appears in the middle of the 
table, surrounded with small dishes of meat, fish, and 
fowl. Their drink is confined to water, hut coffee is 
served immediately after the meal. At the tables of the 
great sherbet is introduced ; for, as the manufacture of 
wine is not encouraged in Egypt, the quantity that is 
used by the Greeks and Franks must be procured from 
abroad. The natives stUl prepare a fermented liquor of 
maize, millet, barley, or rice, but it has very little re- 
semblance to our ale. It is sufficiently pleasant to the 
taste, and of a clear light colour ; though, being very 
weak and pregnant with saccharine matter, it does not 
keep fresh above a day. The Christians distil for them- 
selves a liquor known by the general name of araki. It 
is made of dates, currants, or the small grapes which are 
imported from the Seven Islands. But the example of 
Mohammed Ali, who does not scruple to drink wine, 
has introduced some degree of laxity into the manners 
cf the metropolis, where there are many who hold the 


opinion tliat the great wisdom of their pasha is entitled CHAP. X. 
to equal respect with the injunctions of tlieir Prophet. 

The style of living among Europeans is considerably European 
different from the native mode, but not uniform ; every ^"^^ ^" ^"'^ 
consulate setting an example to the people under its pro- 
tection, and varying according to the seasons of the year. 
" One cannot find the comforts of an English breakfast 
at Cairo ; a cup of coffee and a piece of bread are ready at 
an early hour for whoever chooses ; at mid-day comes a 
luxurious dinner of foreign cookery, with the wines of 
Europe and fruits of the East ; and seven in the evening 
introduces supjjer, — another substantial meal, though 
rather less profuse than the dinner ; and by ten o'clock 
most of the family retire. This is not the way of living Kequmtesr.f 
best adapted to the climate, which seems to require only 
a slight refreshment during the sultry hours, and the 
solid meal to be reserved till the cool of the day. A 
singular luxury m this city, as well as in every other in 
the East, is the caimac, or clouted cream, exactly the Caimac 
same as that made in Devonshire and Cornwall, and 
manufactured in the same manner. It is cried about 
the streets fresh every morning, and is sold on small 
plates ; and, in a place where butter is never seen, it is 
a rich and welcome substitute."* It maybe remarked in Dcmcstic 
passing, that except for the purposes of cookery, fire is '^"^^ 
never used in the houses of Cairo, it being found more 
convenient to compensate the diminished temperature of 
the cold season by an addition to their clothmg than by 
grates or stoves. 

There are, in the same capital, more than three hun- Mosques, 
dred mosques, four or five of which are very splendid, 
more especially the one which bears the name of Jama 
el Azhar, which is ornamented with pillars of marble 
and Persian carpets. A sheik, being at the same time 
an ecclesiastic of a high order, presides over the establish- 
ment, to which an immense property was formerly at- 
tached, and which still su{)ports a number of persons 

* Cariie's Letters from the East, vol. i. p. 9G. 





scliool of 

Dialects of 

I.iterarj- and 




who have the reputation of being distinguished for pro- 
found skill m theology and accurate knowledge of the 
Arabic langiaage. It is furnished also with an extensive 
collection of manuscripts ; and lectures are read on all 
subjects wliich among Moslem ecclesiastics continue to 
be regarded as scientific, though entirely unconnected 
with the improvements of modem times. 

The metropolis of Egypt, indeed, still maintains the 
reputation, by which it has been distinguished for many 
centuries, of being the best school of Ai'abic literature 
and of Mohammedan theology and jurisprudence. Po- 
lite knowledge, it is said, has declined among the Arabs 
at large, but least of all in Cau-o. The fame of the pro- 
fessors in this city remains yet imrivalled ; and its great 
mosque contmues to attract nmnerous students from 
every part of the Moslem world. 

The iVi-abic spoken by the middle and higher classes 
in the capital is generally inferior, in point of grammati- 
cal correctness and pronunciation, to the dialects of the 
Arabian Bedouins ; but it is much superior to that of 
Syria and of the western tribes. There is not so much 
difference between the literary and popular forms of the 
language as some European orientalists have supposed. 
The latter may be described as the literary style simpli- 
fied, principally by the omission of tlie final vowels and 
other terminations which distinguish the several cases of 
nouns and some of the persons of verbs. Nor is there so 
great a variety in the Arabic spoken in the several coun- 
tries as certain persons, who have not held intercourse 
with the mhabitants, are disposed to imagine : in point of 
fact, the dialects resemble each other more tlian those 
of some counties in England, less distantly removed 
from the centre of civilisation. 

The literature of the Arab?, says i\lr Lane, is very 
comprehensive ; but the number of their books is more 
remarkable than the variety. Those which treat of re- 
ligion and jurispi-udence may be stated at about one- 
fourth ; next are works in grammar, ihetoric, and vari- 
ous branches of philology ; the third in the scale of 


proportion are those in history and geography ; and the chap. X. 
fourth clas^ is devoted to poetical compositions, Trea- 
tises on medicine, chemistry, mathematics, algebra, and 
the sciences at large, are comparatively few. 

There are in Cairo many large libraries, most of which Libraries at 
are attached to mosques, and consist foi- the greater part '^'i"'"- 
of works on theology, jurisjjrudence, and the principles 
of literary composition. The leaves of the books are 
seldom sewed together, but are usually enclosed in a 
cover, having an outer case of pasteboard and leather. 
Five sheets or double leaves are commonly placed to- j}„o,j „f 
gether, composmg what is called a karras. The leaves kamis. 
are thus arranged in small parcels, without being sewed, 
in or.ler that one book may be of use to a immber of 
pei-sons at the same time. The paper, which is tliick and 
glazed, is in most cases the manufacture of Venice. 

In Eg}-pt, and particularly in its metropolis, such p.^^,;, „f 
persons as intend to devote themselves to religious em- itudy. 
ployments, or to any of the learned professions, usually 
pursue a course of study in the great mos(|ue already 
mentioned ; having previously made no higher attain- 
ments than being able to read, perhaps to write, and to 
recite the Koran. The Azhar, which is regarded as the The Azhar. 
principal uuivci-sity of the East, is an extensive building, 
in the foraiof a quadrangle, and enclosing a spacious court. 
One side of the square, that namely towards Mecca, 
is used exclusively for devotional purposes ; on the three 
other sides are porticos divided into a number of apart- 
ments, where the young men are engaged in their studies. 
The subjects to which their attention is dii'ected, and on 
which lectures are given by tb.e professors, are gramma- professora, 
tical mfiection and syntax, rhetoric, vei-sification, logic, 
theology, the exposition of the Koran, the traditions of 
the Prophet, the complete science of jurisprudence, in- 
cluding moral, ci\'il, and criminal law, all these being 
founded on the Koran and the traditions. Lectures are 
also given on arithmetic, algebra, the calculations of the 
Mohammedan calendar, the times of prayer, and the 
order of the festivals. 




Books of dif- 
tvirent sects. 

of endoiv- 

Depression ci 

privileges of 
a sheik. 


Different books, as might be expected, are read by 
students of ditferent sects ; but eis to protection or patron- 
age, they are all placed on the same footing, none of them 
paying for the instruction they receive. Such as are na- 
tives of Cairo have their board supplied by their relations ; 
while those who are strangers have a daily allowance of 
food, provided from certain funds bequeathed for their 
maintenance. The youths belonging to the capital used 
to have a similar allowance ; but this they no longer en- 
joy except during the month of Ramadan, for the pasha 
lias taken possession of all the valuable land appertain- 
ing to the mosques. For the same reason the Azhar has 
lost the greater part of its property ; and now notliing 
but the expenses of necessary repairs and the salaries of 
its principal officers are advanced by the government. 
In a chapel adjacent to the eastern angle of that esta- 
blishment, and considered, indeed, as one of its depend- 
encies, there are about three hundred blind men, most 
of whom are students, and being poor, they are all sup- 
ported on funds consecrated by the benevolence of pious 
persons for that purpose. 

Learning was in a much more flourishing state in 
Cairo before the entrance of the French army than it 
has been in later years. It suffered severely from that 
invasion ; not, it is admitted, through direct oppression, 
but in consequence of the panic it occasioned, and the 
troubles by which it was followed. Before that period 
a sheik who had studied in the Azhar, if he had on]}' 
two boys to educate, lived in luxury. His two pupils 
served him, cleaned his house, prepared his food, and 
though they partook of it with him, were his menial 
servants at all other times ; they followed whenever he 
went out ; carried his shoes on his entering a mosque ; 
and in every case treated him with the honour due to a 
prince. He was then distinguished by an ample dress 
and a large formal turban ; and as he pi^sscd along 
tlie street, whether on foot or mounted on an ass, pa&*- 
engers pressed towards him to implore his benedictiou 
If he mot a Frank riding, the latter w;us obliged to di»- 


mount ; if he went, to a butcher to procure meat, the chap, x 
dealer refused to make any char;?e, but kissed his hand „ — 

J . , , 111- 1 , , Honours uiid 

and received as an honour and a blessmg whatever he prirUeges. 
chose to give. At present, the condition of a man of 
this profession is so fallen, that it is with difficulty he 
can obtain a scanty subsistence, unless his talents be of 
the highest order. 

It must have been observed that great attention Srudy of law. 
is paid by the Mohammedan doctors to the study of 
law, both ritual and civil. With regard to the admini- 
sti-ation of the latter branch in ancient times, it may be 
observed, on the authority of Diodorus Siculus, that the 
number of judges amounted to thirty ; and it is worthy 
of special notice, as bearing some affinity to a usage well 
known in a neighbouring nation, that their president 
wore a breastplate adorned with jewels, which was caUed 
Truth. The eight books of the laws were spread open Books of tiie 
in court ; and the pleadings of the advocates were ex- ^'*'^' 
clusively conducted in WTiting, in order that the feelings 
of the judges might not be improperly biassed by the too 
energetic eloquence of an impassioned orator. The pre- 
sident delivered the sentence of his coUeag-ues by touch- 
ing the successful party with the mj-sterious s}Tnbol of 
truth and justice which adorned his person.* 

The character of the viceroy, who labours under the j g ^,f 
imputation of being a freethinker, has not failed to pro- the viceroy 
duce a certain effect on the sentiments of the higher 
class of persons in Cairo. It is said of him that he values 
no man's religious opinions a single straw ; as long as 
they serve him well, they may be Guebres, or worship- 
])ei-s of the Grand Lama. The celebrated traveller, ^nrckhardt's 
liurckhardt, with whom he was very fond of convers- interview 
ing, presented himself one day before him. "Pasha," ^' '"^ 
said he, " I want to go and see the Holy City, and pray 
at tlie Prophet's tomb ; give me your leave and firman 
for the journey." — " You go to Mecca and our blessed 

* Philosoph. Trans., 1819. Supplement to Ency. Brit., vol. ir. 
p. 52. 


CHAP^ X. Prophet's toiul) I" said the prhice ; " that's unpossible, 
Objections cf Ibrahim ! you are not quaUfied ; you know what I 
uie Ticeroy. piean ; nor do I thmk you are a true believer." — " But 
I am, pasha," was the reply : " you are mistaken, I as- 
sure you ; I am qualified, too, in every respect ; and as 
to belief have no feare about that ; tell me any part of 
the Koran that I will not believe." — " Go to the Holy 
City ; go, Ibrahim," said the pasha, laughing heartily ; 
" I was not aware you were so holy a man. Do you 
think I'll vex myself with questions from the Koran? 
Go and see the Prophet's tomb, and may it enlighten 
your eyes and comfort your lieart."* 
Extinction oJ It is maintained both by j\Ir Bro^wne and Dr Hume 
liingiiase. that the Coptic language is entirely extinct, and no longer 
used in any part oif Egypt. The foimer relates that in 
the Christian monasteries the prayereare read in Arabic, 
and the epistle and gospel in Coptic ; observing, how- 
ever, with regard to this last, that the priest is a mere 
parrot repeating a dead letter. Manuscripts in that lan- 
guage are nevertheless still found in some of the con- 
vents, leave to copy which might easily be obtained 
from the patriarch ; and by these means a valuable ad- 
dition would be made to the collections of M. Quatrc- 
niere, to whom the scholars of Europe have been so 
much indebted.'t* 
Coptic creed We have already stated that the Coptic creed is here- 
moniel''" ^^^^^ touching the point on which Eutychius was accused 
of an erring faith. The modems, notwithstanding, have 
adopted transubstantiation, thereby approximating more 
closely to the Roman belief than their orthodox neigh- 
bours of the Greek communion. They have at the same 
time received from the Mohammedans the custom of fi-e- 
quent prostrations during divine service ; of individual 
prayer in public ; and various other ceremonies suggest- 
ed by the pecuharity of their climate. 

• Came's Recollections of Travels in the East, p. 248. 

t Maillet remarked, " Aujourd'hui la langue Copte n'y est plu* 
entendue par les Coptes memes : le dernier qui I'entendai't est mort 
en cesiecle." P. 24. 


Tlie festival of opening the Calige, or cutting the bank chap. x. 
of the Nile, is still annually observed at Cau-o, and is one 
of the few ancient customs which continue to identify opening the 
the inhabitants of the modern capital with their remotest CaUge. 
ancestors. The yeai- in wliich Mr Carne visited Egypt, 
the 16th of August was the day appointed for this so- 
lemnity, the inundation having reached nearly its great- 
est height. Accompanied by some friends he repaired 
about eight in the evening to the place, which Avas a few 
miles distant from the city, amidst the roaring of cannon, 
illuminations, and fireworks. The shores of the Nile, a 
long way down from Boulak, were covered with groups gympathy. 
of people, — some seated beneath the large spreading 
sycamores smoking, others gathered around parties of 
Arabs, who were dancing with infinite gayety and plea- 
sure, and uttering loud exclamations of J03', — afix)rdiug 
an amusing contrast to the passionless demeanour and 
tranquil features of their iloslem oppressors. Perpetu- 
ally moving over the scene, which was illuminated by 
the most brilUaut moonlight, were seen Albanian soldiers 
in their national costume, Nubians from the burning clime 
of farther Egypt, with Mamlouks, Arabs, and Turks. 

At last day broke, and, soon after, the report of a ^^^^ 
cannon announced that the event so ardently wished for 
was at hand. In a short time the kiaya bey, the chief 
minister of the pasha, arrived with his guard and took 
his seat on the summit of the opposite bank. A num- 
ber of Arabs now began to dig down the dike which con- j^emoval of 
fined the Nile, the bosom of which was coveied with a tiie dike, 
number of pleasure-boats full of people, waiting to sail 
along the canal tlu'ough the city. Before the mound 
was completely demolished, the increasing dampness and 
shaking of the earth mduced the workmen to leave off'. 
Several of them then plunged into the stream, and exert- 
ing all their strength to push down the remaining part, 
small openings were soon made, and the river broke 
through with iiTesistible -violence, resembling for some 
time the ruslimg of a cataract. 

Accordmg to custom, the kiaya bey distributed a sum 


CHAP. X. of money, — throwing it into the bed of the canal below, 
Largessoftlie ^^here a great many men and boys scrambled for it. It 
bey. was an amusing scene, as the water gathered fast round 

them, to see them struggling and groping amidst the 
waves for the coin ; but the violence of the torrent soon 
F.asei-npss of boie them away. There were some indeed who liad 
the people, lingered to the last, and now sought to save themselves 
liy swimming, — stDl butfeting the waves, and grasping 
at the money showered doAvn, and diving after it as it 
disappeared. Unfortunately this sport costs a few lives 
every year, and there was one young man drowned on 
the occasion just described. 
Ga^a vessels. The different vessels, long ere the fall had subsided, 
rushed into the canal, and entered the city, their decks 
crowded with all ranks, uttering loud exclamations of 
joy. The ovei-flowing of the Nile is the richest blessing 
of Heaven to the Egyptians ; and, as it finds its way 
gradually into various parts of Cairo, the inhabitants 
Entrance into flock to drink of it, to wash in it, and to rejoice in its 
Caira progress. The vast square called the Birket, which a 

few houi-s before presented the appearance of a dusty 
neglected field, was now turned into a beautiful scene, 
being covered with an expanse of water, out of the bosom 
of which arose the finest sycamore trees. The sounds of 
joy and festivity, of music and songs, were now heard 
all over the cit}', with cries of " Allah, Allah !" and 
thanks to the Divine bounty for so inestimable a bene- 
Need of it in I*- i^ admitted on all hands that, long before its arrival, 
tile capital, the capital stands greatly in need of this ablution. Dr 
Clarke, at whose presence all the plagues of Egypt were 
revived in more than their original horrors, consents to 
acknowledge, that wlien the canal was filled with its 
muddy water, the prodigious number of gardens gave to 
the capital so pleasmg an appearance, and the trees 
growing in those gardens were so new to the eye of a 
European, that for a moment he forgot the innumerable 

* Game's Letters, vol. i. p. 9U 


ahominations of the dirtiest city in the whole eai-th. CHAP. X, 
But he adds, that the boasted lakes, or rather mud- DescniiHon 
pools, into which the waters of the river are received, "'^^'•C'iii'^a 
particularly the famous Esbequier Bh'ket, would cer- 
tainly be considered nuisances in any part of the civi- 
lized world.* 

A tradition prevails, that in ancient times a virgin Tradition of 
was annually sacrificed to the NUe, in order to propitiate "'-iC'ent nieb 
the deity who presided over its waters, and who it was 
imagined, with the view of obtaining the wonted victim, 
occasionally postponed or diminished the periodical flood. 
Tlie only memorial now existing of this obsolete practice 
appears in the form of a pile or statue of mud, called 
Anis or the Bride, which is raised every year between '^nis or tiie 
the dike of the canal and the river, and is afterwards 
carried aAvay by the current when the embankment is 
broken down. Moreri, Murtadi, and other writers, al- 
lude to the same custom, and assign the motive already 
suggested for its introduction among the Egyptian ido- 
laters. " Th.ey imagined," says the former, " that their 
god Serapis was the author of the marvellous inundation 
of the Nile ; and accordingly, whan it was delayed, they 
sacrificed to him a joung girl. This barbarous devotion 
was abolished, if we may believe the Arabian historians, 
by the Caliph Omar."t 

It has become usual to resolve this statement into a Piobabie 
mythological legend or astronomical emljlem ; but the traiiuion. ' 
prevalence of a similar custom in other parts of the 
world, and more especially in India, compels us to ad- 
here to the literal import of the narrative, however ab- 
horrent it may be to all the sentiments of modern times 
For example, Bishop Heber relates that the images of a Himino 
mau and a woman, used in a Hindoo festival, were 
thrown into the Ganges ; and he describes it " as the 
relic of a hideous custom which still prevails in Assam, 
and was anciently practised in Egypt, of flinging a youth 
and maiden, richly dressed, annually into theii* sacred 

" Travels, vol. v. p. 108. t Diction,, vol. vii. p. 1041. 




Relnlion of 





l^uhlic feats 
and aliowa. 

river. That such a custom formerly existed in India is, 
I believe, a matter of pretty uniform tradition."* 

Some indistinct recollection of a similar fact appears 
to have reached the time of Ovid, who relates that, after 
nine years' drought, it Avas suggested that this grievous 
calamity might be averted by the sacrifice of a human 
being, a stranger in the land, — a corrupted allusion, per- 
Iiaps, to the events which happened in the days of the 
patriarch Josejih. 

" Dicitur JSgyptios caruisse juvantibus arva 
Imbribus, atque annos sicca fuisse novem. 

Cum Thraseas Busirim adiit, monsti'atque piari 
Hospitis efFuso sanguine posse Jovem." 

The females of Cairo are often seen in the public 
streets riding upon asses and mules ; they sit in the mas- 
culine attitude, like the women of Naples and other 
parts of Italy. Their dress consists of a hood and cloak 
extending to the feet, Avith a strip of Avhite calico in 
front, concealing the face and breast, but having two 
small holes for the eyes. In this disguise, if a man were 
to meet his own wife or sister, he Avould not be able to 
recognise her unless sl?e spoke to him ; and this is seldom 
done, because the suspicious Moslems, observing such an 
intercourse, might suppose an intrigue to be going on, in 
which case they Avould put one if not both of them to 
death. Sir F, Hcnniker compares a lady mounted in 
the way just described, and wrapped up in a black mantle 
from head to foot, to a coffin placed perpendicularly on 
a horse, and covered with a pall. 

The inhabitants of Cairo, fond of shows like the popu- 
lace of all great cities, amuse themselves chiefly with 
feats of bodily exercise, such as leaping, rope-dancing, 
and wrestling-matches ; also singing and dancing. They 
have buffoons, whose rude pleasantries and stale jests 
excite the ready laugh among an ignorant and corrupt 
people. The almehs, or female improvisatores, who 
amuse the rich with the exercise of their talent, differ 

'Journal, vol. ii. p. 3f)l. 


from such as exhibit to the multitude. They come to chap. X. 

relieve the solitude of the harem, where they teach the ,„ : — 

- , 1 . , "^ . . Tl'e impro- 

women new tunes, and repeat poems which excite inte- visatorei 

rest from the representations which they give of na- 
tional manners. They initiate the Egj^tian ladies m 
the mysteries of theu- art, and teach them to practise 
dances of rather an unbecoming character. Some of 
these females have cultivated minds and an agreeable Female 
conversiition, speaking tlieir native language with pu- cultivation, 
rity. Their poetical ha])its make them familiar with 
the softest and best-sounding expressions, and their reci- 
tations are performed Avith considerable grace. They 
are called in on all festive occasions. During meals the_\ 
are seated in a sort of desk, where they sing. Theu Dances, 
they come into the drawing-room to exhibit their 
dances, or pantomimic evolutions, of which love is gene- 
rally the ground-work. They now lay aside the veil, 
and with it the modesty of tlieir sex.* 

* Malte-Bnin, iv. p. 72. Mr Lane (vol. ii. p. 62) informs his 
readers that the word " almeh" denotes a learned female, and that, 
some of these ladies possess literary accomplishments of so high an 
order as to be justly entitled to the appellation. There is a dis- 
tinction between them and the common dancing-girls so much 
celebrated in the volumes of European travellers, though the same 
tprm is, in such works, indiscriminately applied to both. The 
Egyptians are exceedingly fond of music ; and yet they regard the 
study of this fascinating art as unworthy to employ any portion of 
the time of a man of sense. They farther abject to it as having too 
powerful an eifect on the passions, and as calculated to lead men 
into gayety, dissipation, and vice ; the reason, it is said, why it was 
(•ondemned by the Prophet. But it is, nevertheless, used in reli- 
gious ceremonies ; and the practice of chanting the Koran is con- 
tinued in the schools, and contributes not a little to increase among 
the youth their national fondness for sweet sounds. 

But the Egyptians aie not destitute of diversions much more 
intellectual than those now mentioned. There is a class of men who, 
in their character and oflBces, bear some resemblance to the ancient 
bards of the western nations, who entertain the people by reciting 
romances. These performers usually frequent the cuffee-shops of 
Cairo, on holidays and the evenings of religious festivals, though 
they are also occasionally engaged by private families to amuse their 
guests when assembled to celebrate some joyful event in the do- 
mestic circle. 

One order of these rehearsers are distinguished by the term 
which in their language signifies a poet. But it does not appear 



CHAF. X. We shall take no farther notice of the disgraceful 
r)uncing sccnes which too often accompany tlie exhibitions of the 

that they ever asjiire to the fame of oi-iKinal composition, or profess 
to recite their own verses. On the contrary they restrict them- 
selves to a single romance, entitled the ' Life of Aboo Zeyd,' whose 
adventures are so interesting in the ears of an Arab as never to 
create the slightest feeling of weariness or indifference. It is half 
prose, half verse ; half narrative, half dramatic. Asa literary work, 
it is described as possessing little merit, but, as illustrative of tlie 
manners and customs of the Bedouins, it is not vrithout considera- 
ble value. The heroes and heroines, who for the most part are 
natives of central Arabia and the Yemen, generally pour forth 
their highest sentiments, their addresses, and soliloquies in poetry. 
The verse is not measured ; though it is the opinion of some of the 
learned in Cairo that it was originally constructed on regular prin- 
ciples, and was invested with the poetical form. Almost every sec- 
tion and ode begins with an address to the Prophet, or with the 
invncation of blessings on his memory. 

The romance of Aboo Zevd is understood to be founded upon 
events which happened in the middle of the third century of the 
Hegira, and is believed to have been written not long after that pe- 
riod. It is now usually found in ten or twelve small quarto 
volumes, containinij many additions to the original narrative, and 
»lso deformed by numerous changes suited to the varying taste of 
successive ages. The reciter commits the whole to memory, and 
repeats without book. The poetical pieces are chanted, and after 
every verse he plays a few notes on a viol which has a single chord, 
and IS only used on such occasions. 

Besides the description of performers now mentioned, there is 
another who pass under the name of story-tellers properly so 
called. The exclusive subject of their narrations is the " Life of 
Ez-Zahir," being a romantic tale founded on the history of the 
famous Sultan Ez-Zahi Bebours, who ascended the throne of Egypt 
m the 668th year of the Mohammedan faith. Complete copies of 
this composition have become so scarce that Mr Lane could not 
hear of more than one which he himself purchased. It consists of 
six quarto volumes, but is nominally divided into ten, and is made 
up of volumes of several different copies. The author and his age 
are equally unknown ; though it is not concealed that the work is 
written in the most vulgar style of modern Egyptian Arabic. From 
the specimen submitted to the English reader it is manifest that the 
stories are cast in the same mould which supplied the celebrated 
Arabian Nights. There is the same exaggeration of character and 
sentiments, accompanied with a similar gorgeonsness of description, 
and an utter contempt of all probability in the arrangement of the 
incidents. Hence it may be predicted that a little acquaintance with 
European literature will bring to an end the dynasty of the ro- 
mancers, and substitute a more refined species of fiction as thfc 
Ijastime of the idle and the imaginative in Egypt.* 

* Lrne, vol ii. pp. 114-1-26. 



dancmg-women, nor shall we remove the curtain whicli CHAP, x 
conceals from the common eye the other sensualities of 
the Egyptian capital. It would be almost equally dis- piajrue of 
agreeable to copy the descriptions given by several Bri- ^^ repnies, 
tish travellers of the sufFering-s inflicted upon the senses 
and imagination of a European by the reptiles, flies, 
fleas, and other more nauseous vermin. Dr Clarke in- 
forms us that a singular species of lizard made its ap- Lizardi 
pearance in every chamlier, having cii'cular membranes 
at the extremity of its feet, which gave it such tenacity 
that it walked upon panes of glass, or upon the surfaces 
of pendent mirrors. This revolting sight was common 
in every apartment, whether in the houses of the rich 
or of the poor. At the same time such a plague of flies s^varms of 
covered all things with their swarms, that it was impos- '®^ 
sible to eat without having persons to stand by every 
table with feathers or flappers, to drive them away. 
Liquors could not be poured into a glass ; the mode of 
drinking was, to keep the moutli of every bottle closed 
till the moment it was applied to the lips, and instantly 
to cover it with the palm of the hand when removing it 
to any one else. 

The utmost attention to cleanliness, by a frequent Vermia 
change of every article of wearing-apparel, could not 
prevent the attacks of vermin, which seemed to infest 
even the air of the place. A gentleman made his aj)- 
pearance, to receive a company whom he had invited to 
dinner, with lice swarming upon his clothes ; and the 
only explanation he could give as to the cause was, that 
he had sat for a short time in one of tlie boats upon the 
canal. Nay, it is asceiiained that certain winds cover Abounding 
even the sands of the wilderness with this abommable ^'uderacsa 
insect. Sir Sidney Smith on one occasion, apprehend- 
ing the effects of sleeping a night in the village of Etko, 
preferred a bed on the bare surface of the adjoining de- 
sert ; but, so far from escaping the evil he had dreaded, 
he found himself in the morning entirely covered with 
that mysterious plague over which the magicians of 
Pharaoh had no power. With regard to frogs, of which 





nf the 


Its unircrsal 

the Nile at one period of its annual increase seems to 1)C 
almost exclusively composed ; the " boils breaking out 
with blains ;" and other peculiarities which continue to 
afflict the Land of Ham, we must restrict ourselves to a 
simple reference to such writers as Drs Clarke, Shaw, 
and Pococke, who groan over this long catalogue of hu- 
man sufferings ; or to Sir F. Henniker, and other face- 
tious tourists, who convert these short afflictions into a 
subject of merriment.* 

The French were less ditificult to please, and much 
more open to favourable impressions. Denon, for ex- 
ample, speaks of the pleasurable sensations daily excited 
by the delicious temperature of Cairo, causing Euro- 
peans, who arrive with the intention of spending a few 
months in the place, to remain during the rest of their 
lives without ever persuading themselves to leave it. 
Few persons, however, with whom our countrymen 
associate, are disposed to acquiesce in this opinion. 
Those mdeed who are desirous of unintennipted repose, 
or who are able to endure the invariable languor wliich 
prevails in every society to which strangers are admitted, 
may perhaps tolerate without murmuring a short resi- 
dence in the midst of what Clarke calls a " dull and 
dirty city." The effect, it is admitted, whether it be of 
climate, of education, or of government, is the same 
upon all the settlers in Egypt except the Arabs, — a dis- 
position to exist without exertion of any kind, — to pass 
whole days upon beds and cushions, — smoking and count- 
ing beads. This is what Maillet termed the true Egyp- 
tian taste ;t and that it may be acquired by residing 
among the natives is evident, from the appearance exhi- 
bited by Europeans who have passed some years in their 

* " The dust of the earth became lice upon man and upon beast 
throughout all the land of Egypt." This application of the words 
of Sacred Scripture', says Dr Clarke, " affords a literal statement 
of existing evils ; such a one as the statistics of the country do now 

■f La vraie genie egyptienne. 


The lower order of Arabs are described as a quiet in- chap. x. 
offensive people, with many good qualities ; and they q^^^ 
are on the whole much more active in agricultural em- qualities of 
ployments than we should he led to imagine from the 
habits of the better class of them in towns, who pass 
their time in listless indolence. Their dress consists 
simply of a pair of loose drawers, blue or white, with a Dress. 
long blue tunic, which serves to cover them from the 
neck to the ankle, and a small red woollen skullcap, 
round which they occasionally wind a long white strip 
of the same material. The articles of furniture in theii- Kumiture. 
houses are extremely few. " The rooms of all people 
of decent rank," says a discerning traveller, "have a 
low sofa, called a divan, extending completely round 
three sides, and sometimes to every part of them except 
the doorway ; but it is most commonly confined to the 
upper end of the chamber. On this divan the hours The divin. 
not devoted to exercise or business are invariably passed. 
It is about nine inches from the floor, and covered with 
mattresses ; the back is formed by large cushions placed 
all along the wall, so close as to touch each other, and 
more or less ornamented according to the wealth or taste 
of the owner. The beds are generallj' laid on wicker- Bods. 
work strongly framed, made of the branches of the date- 
tree, or consist of mattresses placed on a platform at the 
end of the room. For their meals they have a very low 
tible, round which they squat on the mats covering the Tabia 
floor ; and in houses of repute I have sometimes seen 
this table made of copper thinly tinned over. The mats 
used in Egypt are made of straw, or of the flags attached 
to the branches of the date-tree, and are very neatly 
worked in figures, such as squares, ovals, and other 
forms, with fanciful borders. They are very durable, but 
harbour numbers of fleas, with which all the houses 
Bwarm, particularly in hot weather."* 

The poorer sort of these Arabs seldom can afford to Food 
eat animal food, but subsist chiefly on rice made into a 

' Walpole's Memoirs, p. 386 



Beans, datts, 

pilau, and moistened with the rancid butter of the 
country. Sometimes they make a hearty meal on boiled 
horse-beans steeped in oil. The date supplies them with 
sustenance a part of the year ; and, in summer, the vast 
quantities of gourds and melons which are then produced, 
place within their reach an agreeable variety. Their 
drink is the milk of buffaloes, or the water of the Nile 
purified and preserved in cisterns. None but the higher 
orders or those of dissolute lives ever taste wine ; and 
hence, although grapes grow abundantly in several parts 
of Egypt, only a very small portion is manufactured 
into that exhilarating beverage which is forbidden to 
every true believer in the Prophet. 

Some particular traits distinguish the Egyptian Arabs 
from other orientals. A country frequently laid under 
water makes the art of swimming a valuable acquisition. 
The children learn it at play ; even the girls become 
fond of it, and are seen swimming in flocks from village 
to village with all the dexterity of the fabled nymphs. 
At the festival of the opening of the canals, several pro- 
fessional swimmers perform a mock-fight in the water, 
and land to attack an enemy in presence of the pasha. 
Their evolutions are executed with surprising vigour. 
They sometunes float down the river on their backs, with 
a cup of coffee in one hand and a pipe m the other, while 
the feet are tied together with a rope.* 
Barbers. ^^ many parts the barbers are still the only prac- 

titioners in physic ; and in a country where every man's 
head is shaved, the professors of the healing art cannot 
fail to be numerous. Their kno^A'ledge is of course ex- 
tremely confined. They perform a few surgical opera- 
Surgical skin, tions, and are acquainted with the viitues of mercury 
and some standard medicines. The general remedy in 
cases of fever and other kinds of illness, is a saphie sup- 
plied by a priest, which consists of some sentence from 
the Koran written on a small piece of paper, and tied 
round the patient's neck. Tliin, if the sick man recovers, 

injT Arab 


Klalte-Brun, vol. iv. p. lOS. 


he carefully preserves by keeping it constantly between chap. il 
his skullcaps, of which he generally wears two or three, saphies 
Saphies are very commonly used by the ^Mohammedans, 
being thought to possess much efficacy for the body as 
well as for the soul, and occupy the same place in the 
estimation of the superstitious as did the frontlets and 
phylacteries of the more rigid among the ancient phari- 
sees. In every bazaar, however, some shops are found 
in which are sold sonie of the more common drugs, such 
as opium, rhubarb, and senna.* 

The Arabs are punctual in the performance of their Reu^ous 
religious duties at the stated hours appointed by their obsen-ar.cea. 
Prophet. They are often seen, after a hard day's work, 
kneehng mth great devotion, offering up their prayers 
with their foreheads at times touclung the ground. The 
respect in which idiots are held by the Mohammedans 
is well known ; it being imagined that such unfortu- 
nate pei*sons are possessed by a benign spirit, and under Respect for 
the special protection of Heaven. It is to be regretted ' '"'^ 
tliat these notions of sanctity sometimes lead to customs 
not to be reconciled to European ideas of decorum ; the 
use of clothes being thought inconsistent with the purity 
of mind and the holy functions wliich the superstition 
of an ignorant people has attributed to the natural fool. 

Until the present viceroy introduced the European Printing- 
press, a printed book was a rare sight in Egypt either !"''=**• 
among Turks or Arabs. A class of men, similar to the 
copyists and caligraphers of the Middle Ages, earned a 
livelihood by forming manuscripts of the Koran and 
other works in liigh reputation, some of which were niuminatea 
beautifully executed in mks of various coloui-s. The *^^S. 
notes were generally done in red or light blue. Dr 
Clarke, who made considerable purchases, uiforms us 
that writings of celebrity bear very great prices, espe- 
cially treatises on history, geography, and astronomy. 
The Mamlouks are fonder of readuig than tlie Turks ; 
and some of their libraries are eni-iched with volumes 

• Dr Hume in Walpole's Memoirs, p. 38.';. 





Tr.inscriFt of 
tlie Arabian 

Taming and 




Olivia of this 

valued at immense sums. This traveller procured a 
transcript of the " Arabian Nights," which was brought 
to him in four quarto cases, containing one hundred and 
seventy-two tales, separated into one thousand and one 
portions for recital during the same number of nights. 
This valuable acqiiisition was unfortunately lost, — an 
event which is the more to be regretted, that many of 
the tales related to Syrian and Egyptian customs and 
traditions, which have not lieen found in any other copy 
of the same work.* 

A custom still prevails in Egypt, which may be traced 
to the remotest times, for it is alluded to by Herodotus, 
and distinctly mentioned by Pliny, — the practice ol 
taming serpents, of sporting with the bites of the most 
poisonous vipers, and even of eatmg these animals alive. 
" A tumultuous throng," says the author just quoted, 
" passing beneath the windows of our house, attracted 
ourattention towards the qua}' ; here we saw a concourse 
of people following men apparently frantic, who with 
every appearance of convulsive agony were brandishing 
live serpents, and then tearing them with their teeth ; 
snatching them from each other's mouths with loud 
cries and distorted features, and afterwards falling into 
the arms of the spectators as if swooning ; the women 
all the while rending the air with their lamentations." 

This singular power over so dangerous an animal is 
claimed only by one tribe, who, on account of some 
signal act of piet}' perfoi-mcd by their ancestors, are un- 
derstood to be protected by the Prophet fi-om any injury 
that might otherwise befall them. These persons, how- 
cA'er, do not always escape ; for the author of the Book 
of Ecclesiasticus asks, VVho will pity a charmer that is 
bitten by a serpent ? Forskal says, that the leaves of 
the aristo/ochia sempervirens were used during forty dnys 
by those who wished to be rendered invulnerable ; and 
we observe in the examination which an Abj-ssinian 
ecclesiastic underwent, at the instance of some Briti&b 

* Travels, vol. v. p. 111. 


travellers who wanted to ascertain the accuracy of cnAP. X. 
Bruce, it is stated that the plant must be used at the — 
moment the charm is performed. 

At Pella, too, if we may believe Lucian, the serpents rame 
were rendered so tame and familiar that they were fed =-»pe"t"' 
by the women, and slept with the children, Dr Hume 
relates, that when lie lived at Alexandria a nest of snakes 
was discovered in his house. Following the advice of 
his interpreter he sent for one of the gifted family, who Xest of 
was an old man, and by trade a carpenter. He prayed ^n^J^ts. 
fervently at the door a quarter of an hour, and at length, 
pale and trembling, ventured into the room ; but in the 
mean time an English saUor, who was employed as a 
servant, had cleared away the rubbish in which they 
were concealed, and killed them with a shovel. 

" I have met," says Mr Lane, " many persons among \cconnt of 
the more intelligent of the Egyptians, who condemn ^^'■'- ^'"'^ 
these modern psylli as impostors, but none who has been 
able to offer a satisfactory explanation of the most com- 
mon and most interesting of their performances." A 
certain order of dervishes obtain a livehhood by charm- r),„rmin„ 
ing away serpents from houses. The performer professes serpents. 
to discover, without ocular perception, whether there 
be any of these reptiles in a dwelling, and to draw them 
to him. As the serpent seeks tlie darkest corner in which 
to hide itself, the charmer has in most cases to exer- 
cise his skill in an obscure room, where he might Koom for 
easily take one from his bosom, brmg it to the people 'deception. 
without the door, and affirm that he had found it within 
the apartment. But we are assured tliat he is often 
requh-ed to perfonn in the full light of day, surrounded 
by inquisitive spectators ; that liLs person is sometimes 
examined and even stripped naked beforehand ; and yet 
Ills success has ever been complete. 

In proceeding to his incantation he generally assumes Qgremon.. ^f 
an air of mj'stery, strikes the wall with a short palm- Ir.cantatioiu 
stick, whistles, makes a clucking noise with his tongue, 
and spits upon the ground, saying, " I adjure you bv 
God, if ye be above or if ye be below, that ye come forth : 


CHAP. X.' I adjure you by the most great name, if ye be obedient^ 
Adjurations come forth, and if ye be disobedient, die ! die ! die !" 
of serpent The serpent is generally dislodged by his stick from a 
fissure in the wall, or drops from the ceUing of the room. 
It is therefore believed that this class of dervishes do in 
reality possess some natural means of discovering the 
presence of serpents without seeing them, and of at- 
tracting them from their lurking-places. 
Exploits of But there is nothing more remarkable among the 
dans!*^" niodem Egyptians than the ingenuity displayed by their 
magicians. Mr Lane has recorded some exploits of this 
nature, that appear truly wonderful, and which, as they 
have not yet been fully explained to the Franks, con- 
tinue to excite a good deal of speculation in these western 
parts of the world. " A few days after my arrival in 
this country," says the author just named, " my curiosity 
was excited on the subject of magic by a circumstance 
Singular related to me by ^Ir Salt, our consul-general. Having 
tijfg^'*"" "^"had reason to believe that one of his servants was a 
thief, from the fact of several articles bemg stolen from 
his house, he sent for a celebrated Mughrebee magician, 
with the view of intimidating them, and causing the 
guilty one to confess his crime. The magician came ; 
and said that he would cause the exact image of the 
person who had committed the thefts to appear to any 
youth not arrived at the age of puberty ; and desired 
the master of the house to call m any boy whom he 
Masric might choose. As several boys were then employed in 

mirror. ^ garden adjacent to the house, one of them was called 

for this purpose. In the palm of this boy's right hand 
the magician drew with a pen a certain diagram, in the 
centre of which he poured a little ink. In this ink he 
desired the boy steadfastly to look. He then burned 
some incense and several bits of paper inscribed with 
charms ; and at the same time called for various objects 
Image of the to appear in the ink. The boy declared that he saw all 
guilty person, these objects, and last of all the image of the guilty per- 
5(m : he described his stature, countenance, and dress ; 
said that he knew him ; aud directly ran into the gar- 


den and apprehended one of the labourers, who, when cj^^ x 
brought before his master, immediately confessed that — 
he was the thief." 

Stimulated by this account, Mr Lane, on his return to investiga- 
Egypt in 1833, resolved to witness a similar performance w°"^' 
in his own person. The magician being invited to his 
residence appeared at the time appointed, about two 
hours before noon ; but he seemed uneasy, frequently 
looked up to the sky through the window, and remarked 
that the weather was unpropitious. It was indeed dull 
and cloudy, and the wind was boisterous. The experi- 
ment was performed with three boys, one after another 
With the first it was partly successful, but with the partial 
others it completely failed. The magician said he could faUme. 
do nothing more that day, but would come again on a 
future evening. He kept his appointment, and admitted 
that the time was favourable. When asked respecting 
the source of his magical power, he maintained that all 
his wonders were effected through the agency of good 
spirits ; though he is said to have declared to others that 
he availed himself of Satanic influence. 

In preparing his magic mirror of ink he cut a narrow 
strip of paper, and wrote upon it certain forms of invo- 
cation together with another charm, by which he pro- 
fessed to accomplish the object of his experiment. He Mag-cmirror. 
did not attempt to conceal these, and on being asked for 
copies, he readUy gave them ; explaining, at the same 
time, that he effected his object by means of the two 
first words, Turshoon and Turyooshoon, which were the 
names of his " familiar spirits." 

Meantime were got ready by his direction some frank- . 
incense and coriander-seed, and a chafing-dish with some 
live charcoal in it. A boy was called in from the street 
who happened at the moment to be passing in the com- 
pany of others from a manufactory, and was about eight 
or nine years of age. It appears tliat the only fit per- 
sons for such experiments are a boy not arrived at pu- 
berty, a virgin, a black female slave, and a pregnant 
woman. The chafing-dish was placed before the magi- 





Forms of 




Number of 

cian and the child (the latter beuig seated), and some 
frankincense and coriander-seed were thrown into it. 
The magic figure was drawn in the palm of the boy's 
right hand, and the ink, as usual, poured into it. He 
was asked if lie could see his face reflected in it : he 
replied that he saw his face clearly. The perfonner, 
holding the little fellow's hand all the while, told him 
to continue looking intently into the ink, and not to 
raise his head. He then took one of the little strips of 
paper, inscribed with the forms of invocation, and dropped 
it into the chafing-dish upon the burnmg coals and per- 
fumes, which had already iilled the room with their smoke ; 
and as he did this he commenced an indistinct muttering 
of words, which he continued during the whole process, 
except when he had to ask the boy a question, or to 
tell him what to say. The piece of paper containing the 
words from the Koran he placed inside the forepart of 
the boy's cap. 

He then asked him if he saw any thing in the ink, 
and was answered " No ;'■' but about a minute after, the 
lad, trembling and seeming much frightened, said, " 1 
see a man sweeping the ground." — " When he has done 
sweeping," said the magician, " tell me." Presently the 
boy said, " He has done." The other then interrujited his 
muttering to ask him if he knew Avhat a beyruck or 
flag was ; and upon being answered in the aflSrmative, 
he desu-ed him to say " Bring a flag." The boy obeyed, 
and soon remarked, " He has brought a flag." — " What 
colour is it V said the magician : " Red," was the answer. 
He was told to call for another flag ; which he did ; 
and soon after he mentioned that he saw another 
brought, and that it was black. In like manner he was 
told to call for a third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh ; 
which he described as being successively brought before 
him, specifying their colours as white, green, black, red, 
and blue. While this was going on the magician put 
the second and third of the small strips of paper, upon 
which the forms of invocation were written, into the 
chafing-dish ] and fresh frankincense and coriander-seed 


liaWng been repeatedly added, the fame became painful chap, x 
to the eyes. 

When the boy had described the seven flags as ap- The sultan's 
pearing to liim, he was desired to say, " Bring the sul- ''^"' '"^^" 
ti^n's tent, and pitch it." Tliis he did, and in about a 
minute after he said, " Some men have brought the tent, 
a large green tent : they are pitching it ;" and presently 
he added, " they have set it up." He was then told 
to order that the soldiers should be drawn up in ranks ; 
and having done so, he presently said that he saw them 
all drawn up in line. 

The magician had put the fourth of the little strips of a bnii 
paper- into the chafing-dish, and soon after he did the iroueht 
same with the fifth. He now said, " Tell some of the 
people to bring a bull." The boy gave the order requii-ed, 
and said " I see a bull ; it is red ; four men are dragging 
it along, and three are beating it." He was told to de- 
sire them to kill it, and cut it up, and put the meat in 
saucepans, and cook it. He did as he was dkected ; icnieri and 
and described these operations as apparently performed coo'iea. 
before his eyes. " Tell the soldiers to eat." The boy did 
so, and said " They are eating it ; they have done ; and 
are washing their hands." The magician then told him 
to call for the sultan ; and the boy having done this, 
said, " I see the sultan riding to his tent on a bay horse ; Tj,g sultan. 
and he has on his head a high red cap ; he has alighted 
at his tent, and sat down within it." — " Desire them to 
bring coffee to the sultan, and to form the court," was 
the next order ; and upon being repeated by the boy, 
he saw the whole instantly performed. The magician 
had put the last of the six little strips of paper into the 
chafing-dish. Mr Lane assures his readers tliat in the 
various mutterings he could distinguish nothing but the 
words of the written invocation, except that on one or 
two occasions he heard him say, " If they demand infor- 
mation, infomi them, and be ye veracious." 

The magician then asked our countryman himself. Vision of the 
whether he wished that there should be presented to the ' ^ 
eyes of the boy any person absent or dead. He named 


CHAP. X. Lord Nelson, of whom the child had never heard ; for 

Loral^son ** ^^ with much difficulty that he pronounced the 

name after sevta-al trials. The magician desii-ed him to 

say to the sultan, " iMy master salutes thee, and desires 

thee to bring Lord Nelson ; bruig hun before my eyes 

that I may see him speedily." The boy repeated the 

words, and almost immediately added, " a messenger is 

gone and has returned, and brought a man dressed in a 

black suit of European clothes ; the man has lost his 

left arm."* He then paused a moment or two, and 

Curious looking more intently and more closely into the ink, 

minutenessof gaid, " No, he has not lost his left arm, but it is placed 

resemblance. i,,mi. . -i/tt -it 

to his breast. This correction, as Mr Lane justly ob- 
serves, made his description more striking than it had 
been without it, since Lord Nelson generally had his 
empty sleeve attached to the breast of Ills coat ; but it 
was the right arm that he had lost. Without taking 
any notice of the apparent mistake, he asked the magi- 
cian whether the objects appeared in the ink as if ac- 
tually before the eyes, or as if in a glass, wliich makes 
the right appear the left. He answered that they ap- 
peared as if in a mirror, — a circumstance which rendered 
the boy's description faultless. 

Vision of Several other persons were successively called for ; 

otiier \y^^^ |.]-^g descriptions of them were imperfect, though 

not altogether incorrect. He mentioned that each object 
appeared less distinct than the preceding one, as if his 
sight was gradually becoming dim ; and towards the 
close of the performance he was a minute or more be- 
fore he could give any account of the persons he pro- 
fessed to see. The magician said it was useless to pro- 
ceed with him. Another boy was brought, and the 
magic figure was made in his hand, but he could not see 
any thing. He was pronounced to be too old. 

Sceptic-Em. It is Stated that an English gentleman who was pre- 
sent on one occasion ridiculed the performance, and said 

* ' ' Dark blue is called by the modern Egyptians es-wed, which 
properly signifies black, and is therefore so translated here." 


that nothing would satisfy him but a correct description chap. x. 
of the appearance of his own father, of whom, he was sinfTlIii^cor- 
sure, no one of the company had any knowledge. The roboratiou. 
boy, accordingly, having called by name for the person 
alluded to, described a man in a Frank dress, with his 
hand placed to his head, wearing spectacles, and with 
one foot on the ground, and the other raised behind him 
as if he were stepping down from a seat. The descrip- 
tion was exactly true in every respect ; the peculiar 
position of the hand was occasioned by an almost con- 
stant headach, and that of the foot or leg, by a stiff 
knee, caused by a fall from a horse in hunting. 

On another occasion Shakspeare was described with Experience 
the most minute correctness, both as to person and dress ; of an Engiiih 
and at a more recent period, after performing in the 
usual manner by means of a boy, the magician prepared 
his figures in the hand of a young English lady, who, 
on looking into it for a little while, said she saw a broom 
sweeping the ground without any body holding it, and 
Was so much frightened that she would look no longer. 

This account is abridged from the work of Mr Lane, Remarks of 
who remarks, the reader may be tempted to think that, ^^'■- ^^^ 
in each instance, the boy sav^ images by some reflection 
in the ink ; but this wms evi lently not the case ; or that 
he was a confederate ; or, finally, that he was guided by 
leading questions. " That there was no confederacy I 
satisfactorily ascertained by selecting the boy who per- Disproof of 
fonned the part above described from a number of others confederacy 
passing by in the street, and by his rejecting a present 
Avhich I afterwards offered with the view of mducing 
him to confess that he really did not see what he pro- 
fessed to have seen. I tried the veracity of another boy 
on a subsequent occasion in the same manner, and the 
result was the same. The experunent often entirely Frequency of 
fails ; but when the boy employed is right in one case, failure, 
he generally is so in all ; and when he gives at first an 
account altogether wrong, the magician usually dismisses 
him at once, saying that he is too old. The perfumes, 
or excited imagination, or fear, may be supposed to affect 




tory esplana 


Attempts at 

Use of a con- 
cave mirror. 

Its ancient 

the vision of the boy, who descrihes objects as appearin<» 
to him in the ink ; but if so, why does he see exactly 
what is required, and objects of which he can have had 
no previous notion ?"* 

These facts, considered merely as the result of natural 
magic or of an ingenious legerdemain, have made a great 
impression among the learned in England, and have at 
the same time suggested several hj-potheses to account 
for their evohition. For example, it has been assumed 
as one ground of explanation, that the reflected pictures 
of a series of objects were thrown from the surface of a 
concave mirror, fixed probaljly to some part of the ma- 
gician's garment, and concealed by the ample overlap- 
ping of his outer dress ; the burning of frankincense and 
coriander seed, and of the slips of paper, in the chafing- 
dish, repeated from time to time, afforded both light and a 
cloud of smoke, under the very nose of the boy, on whicli 
those images were received ; and his being forbidden to 
raise his eyes was no doubt to prevent his seeing the 
spot whence the stream of reflected light proceeded. 

The concave mirror, it is farther observed, is the 
staple instrument of the magician's cabinet, and must 
always perform a principal part in all optical combina- 
tions. In order to be quite perfect, every concave mir- 
ror should have its surface elliptical, so that*Lf any ob- 
ject is placed in one focus of the ellipse, an inverted 
image of it will be formed in the other focus. This 
image, to a spectator rightly placed, appears suspended 
in the air, so that if the mirror and the object are hidden 
from his view, the effect must appear to him almost 
supernatural. It was by means of this apparatus that 
the heathen gods were made to appear in the ancient 
temples among the vapours disangaged from fire ; by ?> 

* Lane's Modem Egyptians, vol. i. p. .'?4]-.357. The author 
subjoins ; " Neither I nor others have been able to iliscover any cluo 
by which to penetrate the mystery ; and if the reader be alike un- 
able to give the solution, 1 hope that he will not allow the above 
account to in'liice in his mind any degree of scepticism with respect 
to other portions of this work." 


the ecclesiastical conjuror, the Pontiff Theodore Santu- chap. x. 
baren, exliibited to the Emperor Basil of Macedonia the Kcciesiasticai 
image of his beloved son, after his death, magnificently conjuring, 
dressed and mounted on a superb charger ; by it was per- 
formed the extraordinary exhibition described by Ben- Benvenuto 
venuto Cellini and in which he was personally con- ^'=l^°'- 
cemed, where whole legions of devils were made to 
appear amidst the cloudy atmosphere of a large apart- 
ment, created by the burning of incense and perfumes ; 
in short, by the same means, not many years ago, the 
people of England were made to see their distant and 
deceased friends in the phantasmagoria. Why then, it 
is asked in conclusion, may we not suppose that a native 
of a country celebrated in ancient times for its conjurors 
was perfectly acquainted with the effects of the concave 
mirror ?* 

But this theory, plausible as it appears, does not fully Unsatisfac- 
elucidate the phenomenon in question. In the first place, a"[ex'1an'a "' 
it is manifest that the boy really sees what he describes, tions, 
reflected in the ink dropped into his hand. This ink, 
we are assured by those who have witnessed the expe- 
riment, is not merely a black circle drawn on the palm, 
but about a tea-spoonful, forming a liquid ball about the 
size of a pistol bullet, poured into it. We might suppose 
that the magician availed himself of it, in order to pre- 
sent the appearances he wished him to describe ; but it 
is well observed in reply, that the certainty of his impossibility 
knowing no more about the persons called for than the ** *^^^^ '°°' 
child hunself knows, sufficiently answers this supposi- 
tion. Besides, the distance at which the boy, in many 
instances, sits from him, and the position of his hand, 
prevent the reflection being th^o^vn from any mirror, or 
other object, with which he might be provided for that 
purpose. But a still stronger argument against the use 
of any legerdemain is derived from the remai'kable fact, 
that some Europeans, after learning the secret, have 

• Quarterly Review, No. 117, p. 202, and Brewster on Natu- 
ral Magic. 




Testimony of 

Uniform pre- 




of tlie 

Delight of 
the boy 
operated on. 

declared that no such deception is practised ; that they 
themselves have succeeded in performing the same feats 
without recourse to any delusion ; and more especially 
that ]M. Delaborde, and others instructed in the art, were 
unable to explain in what manner they made the figures 
appear to the child. 

It is not mi worthy of notice, that in all the exhibi- 
tions the preliminary steps are nearly the same. First, 
there is the man sweeping ; then the flags to the num- 
ber of seven ; next the tents, tlie soldiers, the bull, the 
sacrifice, the eating, the sultan, and the presentation of 
cofi"ee to his highness. At this stage the magician 
usually says to the company, " Whatever question you 
wish to ask, now is the time." M. Delaborde, who 
would not tell any of the party for whom he was to 
ask, in order to obviate the possibility of collusion, named 
the Due de la Riviere. The boy repeated the order. A 
cavass, he said, has gone for him ; and an officer was 
brought into tlie presence of the sultan, dressed in uni- 
form, with silver lace round his collar and cuffs, and 
round his hat. Delaborde observed, " this is an extraor- 
dinary coincidence ; IMonsieur de la Riviere is the only 
officer in France whose uniform is decorated with silver 
lace. It is the uniform of the Grand Veneur." 

On tliis occasion the magician placed his hand over 
the boy's eyes and took him from his seat. The child, 
whose countenance had brightened while seeing these 
strange sights, endeavoured by looking again into the 
ink in his hand to see them once more, but in vain. 
During the operation, when the first man appeared, he 
had explained how he was di-cssed, and told the colours 
and forms of the flags as they appeared, with the eager- 
ness of delight : when, therefore, all was over the party 
questioned liim on the subject, and asked him how he 
knew it was the sultan. He replied, his dress was mag- 
nificent, his attendants stood with their arms crossed 
over their breasts ; they served him in the tent ; he 
took the post of honour on the divan ; his pipes and 
coffee-cup stands were brilliant with diamonds. But, 


he was again asked, how did you know that the sultan chap. x. 
sent for the Due de la Riviere I The boy's expression was, singiiiar 
" I saw the lips move to the words, and heard them in reply. 
my ear." 

M. Delahorde, having learned the secret, was shortly Practice of 
after called to Alexandria, where he resolved on trying ^i-Deiaboide. 
his success in a place Avhere he felt sure that no under- 
standmg could be suspected between the sorcerer and 
the boys he employed. On one occasion he made one 
of his o^\•n friends appear who Avas resident at Cairo ; 
and tlie boy, after the description of his dress, which he 
gave very exactly, exclaimed, " Hold, he is a very singu- 
lar person, he has a silver sabre." Now this gentleman, 
it is added, was perhaps the only one in Egypt who 
wore a sabre with a scabbard of this metal. 

Another person, an Englishman, who resided many Expenments. 
years in Egypt, also learned the art from the magician ; 
and one day while discoursing with him on the subject, 
he offered to make a trial whether he could perform the 
same feats. In order to ascertam this a boy was sent 
for, and after the usual preliminaries our countr^anan 
succeeded peifectly in every point. Being interrogated successful 
as to the means by which he had performed with so •'^si^'s. 
much success, he declared it was merely by the repeti- 
tion of the forms taught him by the magician ; that he 
was himself totally unconscious of possessing any power 
or influence over the child who co-operated with him in 
the experunent ; that there was no approach to any col- 
lusion ; and that though !ie repeatedly did the same with 
similar results, he solemnly stated that, in every cas*?, 
he was utterly ignorant of the manner in which it was 

Tliere is nothing so completely unaccountable in the jrysterioiis 
whole of tills mysterious process as the fact that the natiireoffucb 
result could be attained by merely observing a certain 
formula, vrithout being accompanied by any degree of 

• Revue des deux Mondes. August 1833, and Quarterly Revie\fr 
No. 117, p. 205. 





nature of 




intelligence or consciousness. The East, it is tme, ia 
the proper scene for conjurors and for those who excel 
in slight of hand ; but such a species of phantasmagoria 
as excites the wonder of Egyptian tourists surpasses all 
that we have hitherto heard of Indian jugglers, dexterous 
though they unquestionably are in their various mani- 
pulations. It is not to be doubted, however, that the 
enlightened eye of some European observer will soon 
enable him to give a rational explanation of all these 
phenomena on the simple grounds of natural magic. 

In reference to the manners and customs of the mo- 
dem Egyptians, it may not be out of place to remark, 
that there is a class of dervishes, natives of Northern 
Africa, whose perfoi'mances are very extraordinary. At 
one of the annual festivals they repair to Cah'O, where, 
durmg the vigils which precede the great celebration, 
they promote and share the enthusiasm it is meant to 
inspire. Mr Lane saw about twenty of them, variously 
dressed, sitting on the floor, close together in the form 
of a ring, and beating instruments similar to the tam- 
bourine. At length several of them rose up to dance, 
using odd gesticulations, and displaying the antics of 
madmen. One of them, a dark, spare, middle-aged 
man, after having danced in his odd manner a few 
minutes, and gradually become more wild and extra- 
vagant in his motions, rushed towards the ring formed 
by his brethren. In the middle of this ring was placed 
a small chafing-dish of tinned copper, full of red-hot 
charcoal. From this the dervish just mentioned seized 
a piece of live charcoal which he put into his mouth ; 
he did the same w-ith another, a third, and a fourtli, 
untQ his mouth was full. Then he deliberately chewed 
these live coals, opening his mouth very wide every mo- 
ment to show its contents, which, after about three 
minutes he swallowed ; and all this he did without 
evincuig the slightest sjTnptem of pain, appearing during 
the operation even more lively than he was before. 

Another dervish, after a similar exhibition of dancing, 
became so violent in his actions that one of his brethren 


licld him ; but releasing himself from his grtisp, and chap x. 

rushuig towards the chafing-dish, he took out one of Repetition of 

the largest pieces of live coal and put it into his mouth, '-''e act 

He kept his mouth wide open for about two minutes ; 

and during this period, each time that he drew his 

breath the coal appeared of almost a white red, and 

numerous sparks were blown out from it. After this 

he chewed and swallowed it, and then resumed his 


But such exploits, however surprising in the eyes of Frequency 

the uninitiated, are perfectly understood in other coun- ofsncii 

. , exploits. 

tries, and have even been surpassed in our own. Tliey 

form the amusement of a rude people, who take more 

pleasure in indulging the emotion of wonder than in 

seeking for a philosophical explanation of its cause ; and 

it may perhaps be regarded as a proof of advancing 

civilisation in Egypt tliat such exhibitions are every 

year becommg less attractive. 

Though some of the yearly commemorations of the solemnity 

Mohammedan ritual are dis":raced bv scenes similar to ani'<ieconia 

1 of public 

those ,iust described, the utmost solemnity and decorum worsiiip. 
are observed in the public worship of the people at large. 
We are assured that their looks and behaviour in the 
mosque are not those of enthusiastic devotion, but of 
calm and modest piety. Never are they guilty of an 
irregular word or action during their prayers. The 
pride of fanaticism which they display in common life, Devotional 
in intercourse with persons of a different faith, seems to *P'"^ 
be laid aside when they enter tho consecrated walls, and 
they appear whoUy absorbed in the adoration of their 
creator, humble without any affectation of lowliness or 
any forced expression of countenance. The contrite 
Moslem takes off" his shoes at the door of the temple, 
carries them in liis left hand, and puts his right foot 
first over the threshold. Having performed the prepa- 
ratory oblation, that he may come before his God in a 
state of bodily purity, he places hunself in such a posi- 

• Lano, vol. ii. p. 213. „ u 



CP.\P. X. 


Ideas of 

tion that his head may easily touch the ground when 
prostrating himself before the majesty of heaven. 

We conclude this chapter with a remark truly charac- 
teristic of the manners of modem Egj'pt, and of the 
feelings which were engrafted upon the minds of the 
higher class by the long-continued sway of the Mam- 
louks. Before the reign of the present viceroy, it was 
customary, even among a people rigidly attached to the 
distinctions of hereditary rank, to reserve their highest 
respect for tlie purchased slave whose relations were 
unknown, and whose bravery or other personal qualities 
had raised bim to the first honours in the country. 
General Rejmier mentions that he has heard even Turk- 
ish officers say of persons who occupied great posts, 
" He is a man of the best connexions, — he was bought."* 

• Remier, L"Egypte, p. 68, quoted by M. Malte-Brun, vol. iv 
p. 107. ' 



Egyptian Hierography. 

The Rosetta Stone — Legitimate interest of Egyptian Antiquities — 
Former Hieroglyphic investigations — Tlieir futility — Kiicher's 
System — George Zoega, Young, and Wilkinson — Personal contro- 
versy — Decipbering of the Rosetta Stone — Egyptian Papyri — 
The Coptic Language — Prospects of future discovery — Egyptian 
Mythology — Probability of future disclosures — Fruits of the 
Egyptian Expedition of Napoleon. 

The discovery of the Rosetta Stone, at the close of last chap. xr. 
century, which gave rise to such lively anticipations of The Rosetta 
the immediate disclosure of the whole mysteries of Egyp- stone. 
tian hierogljTphics was for years a source of disappoint- 
ment and vain speculations. The mystery which had 
so many ages hung over the engraven records of Egypt 
had sufficed to clothe them with an exaggerated value. 
It was believed that the hieroglyphic inscriptions on the 
Egyptian monuments included a complete record of all 
earl}' science, nor was it doul)ted by many that they em- 
bodied numerous truths long lost to the world. Could 
the secret of their characters be recovered, it was antici- 
pated that they would be found to contain a summary' of 
the most important mj'steries of nature, and the rudi- 
ments of the knowledge which is partially indicated in 
the allusions of classic writers. It is not therefore to be 



CHAP. XL wondered at that men, ardent in the pursuit of know- 
Sourcesof ^^^^S^i should from time to time seek to assail these 

interest in 

Its connec- 
tion with 

ba.sis of 

ancient store-houses of learning, and strive to unriddle 
the mystery which for so many centuries had baffled 
every inquirer. The early history of Egypt was in itself 
sufficient to tempt men to strive to master the records of 
its former greatness. The prominent part which is given 
to it in the only book which has been preserved to 
us from the period of its early grandeur, and that the 
best of all books, the revelation of divine will to man, 
naturally invests it with a peculiar interest for us. It 
was not witiiout reason that our chief curiosity about 
the monuments of the Nile valley originated till recently 
in its being the scene of the early years of the Hebrew 
race, and the locality wherein they took form as a 
nation. To the inquiring and intelligent mind the Bible 
is an endless source of curious investigation and earnest 
desire after further truth. It reveals to him the most 
momentous truths concerning his own origin and his 
future destiny. But it likewise furnishes him with many 
glimpses of other truths, concerning which he longs to 
learn more. It reveals incidents in the history of nations 
that have borne the foremost place in the records of 
past ages ; and exhibits traits of domestic manners and 
social habits, affording slight yet valuable insight into a 
state of things long since obsolete. 

The legitimate basis of our interest in Egyptian anti- 
quities is thus concisely stated by Sir J. G. Wilkinson, 
in the preface to the first series of his " Manners and 
Customs of the Ancient Egyptians," published in 1 837 : 
• — " Eg;v'ptian historj^, and the manners of one of the 
most ancient nations, cannot but be interesting to every 
one ; and so intimately connected are they with the 
scriptural accounts of the Israelites, and the events of 
succeeding ages relative to Judea, that the name of 
Egypt need only be mentioned to recall the early im- 
pressions we have received from the study of the Bible. 
Another striking result derived from the examination 


of Egyptian history, is the conviction, that, at the most CHAi>. xi. 
remote period into which we have been able to pene- E\idences <;f 
trate, civilized communities already existed, and society «'''"'>' c'vi'i- 
possessed all the features of later ages. We have been 
enabled, with a sufficient degree of precision, to fix the 
bondage of the Israelites and the arrival of Joseph ; and 
though these events took place at an age when nations 
are generally supposed to have been in their infancy, 
and in a state of barbarism, yet we perceive that the 
Egyptians had then arrived at as perfect a degree of 
civilization as at any subsequent period of their history. 
They had the same arts, the same manners and customs, 
the same style of architecture, and were in the same 
advanced state of refinement, as in the reign of Remeses 
II. ; and no very remarkable changes took place, even 
in ever varj'ing taste, between the accession of the first 
Osirtasen and the death of that conqueror, who was the 
last monarch of the 18th dynasty. What high antiquity Bearineon 
(loes this assign to civilization! The most remote point, the historj- of 
to which we can see, opens witli a nation possessing all 
the arts of civilized life already matured ; and though 
penetrating so far into the early history of the world, 
we find that tlie infancy of the Egyptian state is placed 
considerably beyond our reach. And, if Egypt presents 
no other attractions, the certainty of its being the oldest 
state, of which we have any positive and tangible re- 
cords, must awaken feelings of interest, to which no 
contemplative mind can remain indifferent," 

The recent discoveries of Dr. Leyard, Major Rawlin- Ass>Tian 
son, and others, of the relics of Assyrian empire, may ™ "^"" *^ 
perhaps be held to require some modification of these 
latter observations. The cunieform character of the 
Nimrod marbles and cylinders are already being decy- 
phered, and their ivories and sculptures are clearly seen 
to point not only to a history contemporaneous with that 
of Egypt, but even promise to throw additional light on 
the latter. Time, however, must show what will be the 
historic fi'uits of these discoveries ; nor need ^ve appre- 




CHAP. XI hend that, in their utmost disclosures, they will cast into 
the shade the wonders which invit* our study in the 
monuments of Egyptian art. 
■Various in- It has thus happened, that sympathies of a widely 
dated iifthe Opposite class have been enlisted in the desire for reco- 
investiga- vering the hidden lore of Egypt. The classical scholar 
looked to it for the disclosure of truths familiar to the 
philosophers of Greece, but which we only guess the 
existence of from the disputed allusions of Plato and 
Aristotle. The student of science was not without hope 
that secrets in medicine, in astronomy, in mathematics, 
might be hid under these strange symbols, amid which 
he was able to trace — as in the gorgeous ceiling at Den- 
dera — the records of a system of astronomical science, 
established ere the barbarian Roman had laid the foun- 
dation of later empire. To these several motives for in- 
Inflnence of vestigating the secrets of Egj^tian records, we may add 
the scarcely less influential one of natural curiosity, and 
the desire to overcome obstacles which had so long baffled 
the most zealous attempts. To this latter source may be 
ascribed with considerable justice much of the zeal which 
was manifested by the savans of the eighteenth centuiy, 
and the very questionable results which it produced. 
Without any very special cause arousing general atten- 
tion to the subject, various disclosures sufficed from 
time to time to keep some degree of interest alive. 
Travellers occasionally overcame the obstacles to the 
exploration of the ancient scenes of Egyptian art and 
worship, and brought back with them fresh glimpses of 
the wonders disclosed to their view; not rarely adding 
to these some new theories and speculations of their own, 
calculated, as they conceived, to throw some light on the 
mysteries of the Nile. " The occasional transmission to 
European cabinets," says Gliddon, " of some relics of 
Egyptian civilization, furnished evidences of the immense 
progress, which, at an ancient, but then undefined period, 
had been made in all arts and sciences by the Egyptians. 
With the aid of such corroborations of the misshapen 

Glimpses of 



mass of classical knowledge, expended, from the days of chap. \l 
Homer, in an attempted explanation of Egyptian Archse- 
ologj^, the attention of the most learned of all nations 
\vas directed to the antiquities of Egypt ; and although, 
in Europe, these particular "inquiries recommenced pro- Revirai of 
bably about three hundred years ago ; yet the 18th cen- {nqluHiZ'"" 
tury was fruitful, beyond all preceding periods, in pon- 
derous tomes, purporting more or less to cast some light 
on the important, but conflicting traditions of that coun- 
try. The Greek, the Hebrew, the Roman, the Arme- 
nian, the Indian, and the Coptic authorities were con- 
sulted. Passages, in themselves irreconcileable, were 
with more ingenuity than success collated, analyzed, and 
mutually adjusted : but rather to the personal satisfac- 
tion of the compiler, than to the correct elucidation of Unprofitable 
any one given idea on ancient Egypt, transmitted to us 
by these classical writers. Still, the spirit of inquiry 
was awakened ; the lamp of investigation was partially 
lighted ; the learned world became gradually more and 
more familiarized with the subject ; and, at the present 
hour, if we laugh at the conclusions at which some of 
these students arrived, we must still render to them full 
credit for the profundity of their futile investigations, 
and admii-e the patient perseverance and resolution with 
which they grappled with mj'steries, the solution where- 
of was to them as hopeless in expectation, as abortive in 
Buccess. Vain would it be, without ransacking the libm- 
ries of every civilized country, and selecting from their impos.'^ibiiity 
dusty shelves the vast accumulation of works, published ttidr'woi" a 
by the learned and the unlearned during the last three 
centuries, to attempt a detailed specification of the extra- 
ordinaiy aberrations of human intellect ; those manifold 
and incomprehensible misconceptions on ancient Egypt, 
that, at the present hour, excite our surprise and our re- 
gret. The mere mechanical labour of such an undertak- 
ing would be more tedious than any literary enterprise 
we can well conceive ; while its result would be unpro- 
fitable, beyond the moral it would teach." 




niiture of the 

wiili Amevi- 
can hierogly- 

Oripin of 
both systems 

of interpreta- 

There was much, however, to tempt the fancy to ex- 
plore the records of Egyptian hieroglyphical inscriptions. 
At first sight there seems ground whereon one might 
hope to rear a basis of truth, from whence to master the 
whole. Supposing it to be a purely repi-esentative system 
of picture writing, it seemed to require little more than 
a tolerably clear understanding of the intended represen- 
tations of objects in order to master the whole. The 
Aztecs of the New World had such a hieroglyphic system 
in use, and their picture-\yriting still survives on many 
of the monuments of Mexico and Yucatan. There is 
good reason to believe that it was no more than an ab- 
breviated sj'Stem of literal representation, such as the 
Eg^^'ptian system of hieroglyphic writing was universally 
believed to be prior to the discoveries of the present cen- 
tury. An illustration of the mode adopted by the natives 
of America, in making use of their system of picture- 
writing on extraordinary occasions, is shown in the ac- 
count preserved by the early Spanish discoverers of 
America. We learn from them that the Indian scouts 
despatched to bring back word of the strange invaders 
who threatened the kingdom of Montezuma, informed 
their master of the arrival and appearance of Cortez and 
his followers, by sketches of the Spaniards, their ships, 
horses, firearms, &c. Such was no doubt the origin of 
the Egyptian system. It was at first no more than a 
rude method of conveying an idea of objects by miniature 
representations of them. The earliest refinement on this 
would consist chiefly in the most natural mode of abbre- 
viation, by substituting a pai-t for the whole. In this 
way the crown became the symbol of the king, and the 
inkhorn of the scribe; or again, a male and female figure 
together stood for mankind,, an ox with thi'ee lines below 
it for oxen, or many oxen, &c. 

Even in such a simple mode of conveying ideas, there 
is manifestly room for considerable diversity of interpre- 
tation; and Slime of the discussions to which such differ- 
ences have given rise are amusing enough. When, more- 


over, so i-ude a system of Mriting was supposed to be chap. xi. 
adapted without any modified application of such pri- " 

iiiitive symbols to the expression of abstract ideas and 
historic records, we need not wonder that the utmost 
inconsistency appears when we attempt to compare the 
results of modern investigation. It is indeed now uni- uselessness 
versallv acknowledged, that the whole body of European ^'^ fonuer i:i- 

•t. ', 1 ►. 1 ,..1, -., vestigatioiis. 

hierographers, up to the year 1/90, have failed to furnish 
one single inference or deduction of the least value. The 
following sketch by Mr. Giiddon, in his '"Ancient Egypt," 
will furnish the reader with some idea of the rambling 
speculations, with wliich the older antiquaries of Europe 
were wont to occupy their time, in attempting the eluci- 
dation of the inscriptions on the monuments of Egypt: — 
"In the year 1G36, a learned Jesuit, the celebrated Father 
Father Kircher, published a mighty work, in six pon- ^"'^^"r. 
derous folios, entitled ' (Edipus ^gyptiacus,' wherein 
imagination took the place of common sense, and fantas- 
tic conjecture was substituted for fact. Kircher ex- 
plained every Egyptian hieroglyphic by the application 
of a sublimity of mysticism, from which to the ridicul- 
ous the transition is immediate. Dark and impenetrable 
as had been the ' Isiac Veil,' before Kircher directed his 
gigantic efforts to its removal, we do him but justice in 
declaring, that he succeeded in enveloping Egyptian 
studies with an increased density of gloom it has taken 
nearly two hundred years to dissipate ! Kircher had his His disciples, 
disciples, his followers, and his admirers — he founded a 
school of mysticism, in which the students outvied their 
master in love of the incomprehensible ; and, abandon- 
ing the simplest elements of reason and sound criticism, 
they all pretended to discover, or to have the hope of 
finding, in the papyri, obelisks, idols, mummy cases, 
weapons, household utensils, &c. of the Ancient Egyp- 
tians, all the recondite combinations of cabalistic science, 
and the monstrous reveries •' of a demonomania the most 
refined.' As an instance : 

" The Pamphilian Obelisk, re-erected in 1651 in the 



CHAP. XI. Piazza Navona at Rome by Pope Innocent the Tenth, 
ThePamphi- "^^'^^ brought to Europe by the Roman Emperors. It 
ban obelisk, contains, among other subjects, the following oval, since 
deciphered Autokrator, or Emperor : — 

tion by 

Opinions of 
his labours. 



UToK RaTo 

^^ Hierogly- 

B (Latin pro- 

EMPEROB. (English 


This Cartouche, according to Kircher's interpretation 
expressed ernllematically , ' the author of fecundity and 
of all vegetation, is Osiris, of which the genei-ative faculty 
is drawn from heaven into his kingdom by the Saint 
Moptha.' And who is this Saint Moptha 1 An Egyp- 
tian genius invented by Kircher himself !" 

It is not without reason that another critic has said of 
the learned but mystical Jesuit, that his interpretation 
succeeded equally well whether he began at the begin- 
ning or the end of an inscription. His system was based 
on an admixture of presumed symbolism, and altogether 
baseless fancy, such as left the inscriptions open to almost 
any meaning that each successive interpreter might infer. 
Occasionally one can detect the basis of his ideas, as 
when he begins the oval of Domitian, hereafter refeired 
to, " The Beneficent Being" we find its first hieroglyphic 
figure an extended arm and open hand, which might 
possibly be the accepted symbol of such an interpreta- 
tion. It is worthy of note, however, as a proof of the 
slight degi-ee of consistency apparent in his attempted 
interpretations, that while the same hieroglyphic figure 
is repeated five times in this single oval, we look in vain 
for any repetition in the Jesuit's translation, with the 
exception of the single recurrence of the word power. 
The following are Gliddon's remarks on the interpreta- 
tion of the cartouche of Domitian : — • 



" The same obelisk contains also the oval, which is now chap, xl 
read, Kaisaros, Tomitianos, Sebastos, that is, Csesar, Do- 
niitian, Augustus. 


►^^- -.'f ^^^VH^- 



T o S 


" Kircher translates it — ' The beneficent Being, who Kircher's 
presides over generation, who enjoys heavenly dominion, '^*"**'''^^ 
and fourfold power, commits the atmosphere, by means 
of Moptha, the beneficent (principle of?) atmospheric 
humidity unto Ammon, most powerful over the lower 
parts (of the world,) who, by means of an image and ap- 
propriate ceremonies, is drawn to the exercising of his 

" The Pamphilian obelisk contains in its legends ' Son Pamphiiiau 
of the Sun, Lord of the Diadems (i. e. Ruler of Rulers) "^''^'"^ 
Autocrator Ctesar Domitian Augustus' — besides the usual 
titles found on Egyptian Obelisks. These monuments are 
granite monoliths, cut by order of the kings of Egypt ; 
and were placed, always in pairs, before the entrances of 
temples or palaces, to record that such kings had built, 
increased in extent, repaired, or otherwise embellished 
these edifices. This was, however, cut at Syene, in Ro- 
man times, in honour of Domitian. 

" According even to a more recent authority, quoted Recent mi9- 
in the Precis, of the year 1821 ' Genoa-Archipiscopal tlon.'^"^*^ 
press,' this identical obelisk ' preserves the record of the 
triumph over the Impious, obtained by the adorers of the 
most Holy Trinity, and of the Eternal Word, under the 
government of the 6th and 7th kings of Egypt, in the 
6th century after the deluge.' 



diction of 

Chevalier de 

Count Cay- 

ot Egyptian 
and Assy- 
rian Uiero- 

" This obelisk was cut in Egj'pt about eighty years after 
Christ. By the above interpretation, the doctrines of 
Christianity must have existed some 2500 years before 
its founder. And one of the pious adorers and good 
Christians, who must thus have ruled in Egypt, was, in 
later times, (about 970 B. C.) Shishak — or Sheshoxk, 
who, according to hieroglyphical legends at Karnac, con- 
quered the ' kingdom of Judah ;' and, according to 2nd 
Chrou. xii. 1st to 10th verses, and 1 Kings xiv. 25th, 
deposed Rehoboam, plundered Jerusalem, desecrated the 
Temple, and removed the golden bucklers from the sanc- 
tuary with the treasures of the house of David ! 

"Again, in 1812, the learned mystagogue, Chevalier 
de Palin, boldly undertook the deciphering of aU Egj'p- 
tian hieroglyphics, and asserts to the effect, that we have 
only to translate the Psalms of Da'V'id into Chinese, and 
transpose them into the ancient characters of that lan- 
guage, to reproduce the Egyptian papyri! that Eehrew 
translations of some Egyptian records are to be found 
in the Bible ; and, while the portico of the temple of 
Dendera contains, among various subjects, dedications of 
the Roman Emperors, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudiiis and 
Nero (dating between the years 14 and 60 after Christ.) 
another theorist. Count Caylus, combining what he terms 
the ' Sj'mbols of Nations' in Africa, Asia, Europe, and 
America, applied his results to this unfortunate tem- 
ple ; asserting, that the hieroglyphics thereon contain 
mereh' a ' translation of the 100th Psalm of David, com- 
posed to invite the people to enter into the temple o.f 
God.' " 

At the first glance it seems much more likely, that 
the hieroglyphics on the Egj'ptian temples should be 
deciphered, than that any amount of research or learn- 
ing should now suffice to recover the secrets veiled under 
the arbitrary characters of the Assyrian cunieform in- 
scriptions. In so far as the hieroglj'pliic characters are 
to be regarded as pictures, or even symbols, all men are 
capable of arriving at some conclusion regarding them. 


The above examples, however, amply suflBce to show chap. xt. 
what value could be attached to any such conjectural infju^e of 
readings. Each man found an intei-pretation accordins: conjectural 

... -nil- 11 • 1 speciuationa. 

to his own lancy, till scholars in general became weaned 
with speculations that led to no definite or reconcilable 
results, and the world not unreasonably adopted the con- 
clusion tliat Egj'^ptian researches were only fit to rank 
along with the alchjmist's painful endeavours to pos- 
sess the elixir of life or the philosopher's stone. But 
we must not altogether judge of the labours of these Indirect 
learned students of the 17th and 18th centuries by their "^^^ ^'^ 
direct or apparent results. Extravagant as was the 
mystical system of interpretation of Father Kircher, he 
and his disciples were no ineffectual pioneers in the elu- 
cidation of Egj-ptian learning. Whatever research and 
study could recover they did. The Greek and Roman 
authors were ransacked for every reference and allusion 
that could be brought to bear on the subject ; so that, 
when chance threw a clearer and more trustworthy light 
on the object of their laborious investigations, theii 
successors were able to enter on the direct investigation 
of the hieroglyphical inscriptions amply furnished with 
all the knowledge that classic lore could supply. 

Towards the close of the eighteenth century, more First inteiii- 
direct and valuable results repaid the zeal of the few fa^tionT^'^'^' 
scholars who had still sufficient courage to devote them- 
selves to what seemed so vain and hopeless a study. 
New light seemed to dawn on their investigations pre- 
paratory to the discovery of the key which Avas destined 
to unlock the long-closed barrier, and unriddle the mys- 
tery of the Sphynx. " The first real step," says Glid- 
don, " made into hieroglyphical arcana, is to be dated 
from 1797, when the learned Dane, George Zoega, pub- Georce 
lished at Rome his folio, 'De Origine et Usu Obelis- 
coi-um,' explanatory of the Egyptian obelisks. It was 
the first time that learning and practical common sense 
had been united in Egyptian researches; and likewise 
the first time that an attempt had been made to give 




The Car- 

use of hiero- 

Value of 
these results. 

Influence of 


fac simile copies of hieroglyphical texts. George Zoega 
was the first who suggested that the elliptical ovals (now- 
termed * Cartouches,') containing groups of then un- 
known characters, were probably froper names; although 
he was not aware that (with the exception of a few in- 
stances, wherein they contain the names of Deities) they 
exclusively inclose the titles or names of Pharaohs. A 
similar idea was maintained, I believe, by the Abbe Bar- 
thelemy ; but a quarter of a century elapsed before this 
fundamental principle of hieroglyphic writing was deter- 
mined. To George Zoega also belongs the merit of em- 
ploying the term phonetic (from the Greek ^ovq, mean- 
ing ' expressive of sound ;'') and the conjecture that some 
of the figures of animals, &c., found in the legends of 
Egypt, must represent 5om»c?5, and were possibly letters." 
Extremely partial as these results were, they proved 
of no slight importance when the means was discovered, 
a few years later, by which they could be turned to 
account. Dr. Russell has already glanced, in the pre- 
vious pages, at the discovery of the celebrated Rosetta 
Stone, and the consequences which have flowed from its 
triplicate inscription. Much, howevei*, has been done 
since his work was finished to give new interest and 
importance to the study of hierology; and we may there- 
fore glance back on its early history, in order fully to 
understand these results. We owe, undoubtedly, to the 
ambitious projects of Napoleon, the revival of general 
interest in Egyptian antiquities, and the acquirement of 
the means for turning these to account. " Before the 
year 1800," says Gliddon, " Egypt was a sealed book, 
whose pages could not be opened, until Napoleon's thun- 
der-bolts had riven the clasps asunder." Whatever view 
we may incline to take of the restless and insatiable 
ambition of Napoleon, it affords no trifling evidence of 
the beneficent influence of civilization in controlling and 
overruling the evils of war, to find the legions of France 
accompanied by a body of savans, no less ambitious for 
trophies won in the peaceful triumphs of science and 


knowledge, than were the Emperor's soldiers for the chap, xl 
bloody glories of conquest. 

The first result of this scientific expedition to Egypt, '^- ''^^- 

, -r-i 1 1 1 liT-^ • • 1 nT-1 5> srjnption de 

v/as the great French work, the "Descnption de 1 r-gypt, I'Egjpt" 

containing the fruits of the united labours of the French 
savans, and published at the expense of the Government. 
This great and timly national contribution to literature 
gave an immediate stimulus to Egyptian studies. For 
the first time it had become possible to obtain a faithful 
and intelligent conception of the magnificence and va- 
riety of EgA"ptian architecture, and of the evidence of 
ancient civilization and high attainments in the aiis, 
which these monuments of that remarkable people exhi- 
bit. The architect was now put in possession of mea- its vaiunWe 
surements and details of the utmost value to him, as ^^^ ''^ 
indicating the source from whence the Greeks derived 
their architecture, and consequently the originating 
models of Roman, Romanesque, Byzantine, and even 
Medieval Gothic architecture. The sculptor, in like 
manner, learned of much that had influenced the early 
history of his art, and unlearned many crude and un- 
founded misconceptions of the works of these Egyptian 
precursors of Phidias and Praxitiles. In its direct bear- 
ing on the elucidation of hieroglyphics, however, the 
" Description de I'Egypt " proved of no great value. It 
was comparatively easy for the French artist to give cor- 
rect delineations and measurements of the temples; but 
the hieroglyphics which adorned them were to him 
mere arbitrarj' signs or chance varieties of ornamental its deflcien- 
decoration, in reducing which to paper he too often "'^'^ 
satisfied himself with only producing such general re- 
semblance as might satisfy the eye. The gieat French 
work has accordingly decreased in value with the pro- 
gress of knowledge, and it is now no longer appealed to 
as an authority for the most important class of delinea- 
tions which it professed to furnish. 

Dr. Thomas Young remarks, in his " Discoveries in Dr. Youngs 
Hieroglyphic Literature" : — " The French Expedition to ''^™'"" *• 



CKAP. XL Egypt was most liberally provided, by the government 
of the day, with a select body of antiquaries, and archi- 
tects, and surveyors, and naturalists, and draughtsmen, 
whose business it was to investigate all that was interest- 
ing to science or to literature in that singular country. 
Their labours have been made public, with all the advan- 
tages of chalcographical and typographical elegance, in 
the splendid collection entitled ' Description de I'Egypte.' 
C>iief results But it is scarcely too much to say, that the only real 
benefit conferred on Egyptian literature by that expe- 


Causes of 

The fortunate 

dition was the discovery of a huge broken block of black 
stone in digging for the foundations of Fort St. Julian, 
near Rosetta, which the British army had afterwards the 
honour of bringing to this country, as a proud trophj' of 
their gallantry and success. It is not to a want of abi- 
lity, nor of industry, nor of accuracy, nor of fidelity, in 
the Egyptian Commission, that so total a failure is to be 
attributed, but partly to the real difficulty of the sub- 
ject, and still more to the pre-conceived opinion, which 
was very generally entertained by their men of letters, 
of the exorbitant antiquity of the Egyptian works of 
art, which caused them to neglect the lights that might 
have been derived from a comparison of Greek and Ro- 
man inscriptions with the hieroglyphics in their neigh- 
bourhood ; and to suppose that whatever bore the date 
of less than thirty or forty centuries must necessarily 
be an interpolation, unconnected with the original archi- 
tecture and decorations of the edifice to which it be- 
longed ; and when a strong prejudice has once been 
imbibed, we all know that the senses themselves are per- 
petually blunted and perverted by it, even without the 
consent of the reasoning powers." 

Chance, however, furnished in this latter branch 
of Egyptian research a more valuable contribution to 
our knowledge than all that had been accomplished by 
the labours and the learning of centuries, in the cele- 
brated stone already referred to. In digging the foun- 
dations of a fort near Rosetta, at one of the mouths of 


the Nile, the French discovered the inscribed block of chap. xi. 
black basalt, ^vhich. along with the other antiquities me Rosctu 
secured by the army of Napoleon in Egypt, was brought Stone. 
home to England, and is now familiarly kno'OTi as the 
Rosetta Stone. This valuable relic, which forms one of 
the most interesting features of the Egj^itian collection 
in the British Museum, contains an inscription in three 
distinct characters — the Hieroglyphic, or sacred; the itsinscnp- 
Enchorial, or common Egyptian ; and the Greek. From *'°°^ 
the terms of the latter, it became immediately apparent 
that the three inscriptions were versions of the same 
decree, in the several characters ; and this was further 
confii-med by observing that the hieroglyphic inscrip- 
tion ends with the numerals I. II. and III., where the 
Greek has " The first and the second . . . ." the remainder 
being broken away. A key seemed to be at length found 
to the long-hidden mysteries of Egj'ptian hierogl^A'phics, 
which had mocked the curious zeal of ages with the vain 
offer of unrevealed secrets. An accurate fac-simile of 
the three inscriptions was engraved, and extensively cir- 
culated by the Society of Antiquaries. The Greek text Greek Text 
was translated and discussed by Porson and Hejme, the 
most eminent among the Greek scholars of Germany and 
England. But there explanation paused ; and it seemed 
as if, after all the high anticipations excited by this dis- 
covery, it was to prove altogether fruitless. The causes 
of this are easily explained. Unfortunately, a consider- 
able part of the hieroglyphic inscription was injured or 
destroyed. The beginning of the enchorial and the con- 
clusion of the Greek inscriptions were in like manner 
defaced ; so that precise points of coincidence were want- 
ing from whence to set out in deciphering the unknown 
by the known characters. Dr. Thomas Young was the first Tn- Younc's 
to master any of the unknown hieroglyphics. With 
great sagacity, he noted the recurrence of certain words, 
such as Alexander, Ptolemy, &c. ; and in corresponding 
parts both of the enchorial and hieroglyphic inscrip- 
tions, he detected corresponding groups of characters, and 




Their first 

Greek and 



CHAP. XL established the important fact, which had been previously 
assumed as probable by Zoega, that these proper names 
are distinguished by the enclosing oval or royal cartouche, 
of such frequent occurrence on all Egyptian monuments. 
This discovery, however, sufficed to prove that the Greek 
is not a literal translation of the Egyptian. The namfee 
do not invariably recur in corresponding places of the 
several inscriptions, synonymes or pronouns being substi- 
tuted for them ; so that the Greek cannot be assumed as 
expressing more than the general meaning of the other 
inscriptions. This of course greatly detracts from the 
assumed value of the Rosetta Stone as a key to the hiero- 
glyphics ; and though it has now been famiUar to the 
scholars of Europe for nearly half a century, a literal 
translation of its symbols still remains imaccomplished." 

" Accustomed," says an English critic, " to a method 
of writing which employed signs as the representatives 
of sounds merely, the Greek and Roman authors, who 
had, either directly or indirectly, acquired any tolerably 
distinct notions of the graphic system of the ancient 
Egyptians, and, in particular, of their monumental \vrit- 
ing, appear to have been chiefly struck with ih^ figurative 
and symbolic, or, in other words, ideographic, characters, 
intermixed in it : these, as the most remote from the 
nature of the signs they themselves made use of, seem to 
have almost exclusively engaged their attention. Hence, 
they nowhere expressly mention any other order of cha- 
racters ; they nowhere explicitly and distinctly state, 
what they could hardly fail to have known, that the 
Egyptians employed, at the same time, a certain class of 
signs as phonetic, or as the representatives of simple 
sounds. Even Clemens Alexandrinus himself, in a cele- 
l^rated passage, describes the phonetic hieroglyphics in 
the most concise manner ; — so concise, indeed, that his 
statement, from being isolated and unaccompanied with 
explanation, remained quite unintelligible, till recent dis- 
coveries furnished a key to its meaning. 

" It is chiefly to this circumstance that we are to at- 

Their mode 
of treatinj; 
the subject 


tribute the ineffectual efforts of the modems to decipher chap. xi. 
the hieroglyphic inscriptions. Finding in the classic Misdirected 
authors indications only of synxbolic signs, and of images efforts. 
of objects, and never once suspecting the existence of any 
other, the learned of the last three centuries invariably 
concluded that the hieroglyphic writing was solely com- 
posed of characters each of which was the representative 
of an idea. On this elementary principle they were all 
agreed ; and, to say the truth, it seemed to receive con- 
firmation from the fact, that the forms and values of a 
certain number of hieroglyhic symbols had been indicated 
by Diodorus Siculus, Horus Apollo, Plutarch, Clemens 
Alexandrinus, and Eusebius. The number of these sym- Number of 
bols, compared with the immense varietj' of characters ^J"™^" ^ 
observable on the monuments, was, indeed, extremely 
small ; but modern ingenuity soon supplied the defects 
of the ancient records. From the preconceived notion 
that each hieroglyph was the representative of a distinct 
idea, the great object of ambition came to be, to extort 
per force the esoteric meaning which it was supposed to 
involve. It was never doubted that the most profound Anticipated 
mysteries of nature and art lay hidden in these monu- "^^^ 
mental sculptures ; the simplest characters were conceived 
to be the types of ideas too lofty for vulgar comprehen- 
sion, and worthy of the eternal records to which their 
preservation had been consigned. Thus, imagination 
usurpmg the place of reason, and conjecture that of fact, 
the learned, wbo had addicted themselves to these in- 
quiries, soon became involved in an inextricable labynnth, 
and like Milton's devils, posed by their metaphysical 
speculations, ' found no end in wandering mazes lost.' " 

English readers are well aware that this important nival 
discovery has been the subject of much jealousy and J^'^''"*"^'^ 
acrimonious disputation. Champollion, the celebrated 
French historian and archaeologist, devoted himself with 
untiring assiduity to the elucidation of Egyptian hiero- 
glyphics, and regarded with no slight degree of jealousy 
the claims of Dr. Thomas Young to be the first demon- 



His first 

CTLtP. XL strator of the value of certain Egyptian chai-acters, as 
well as of the probable universality of the phonetic prin- 
Proceedincs ciple in their use. The proceedings of Champollion in 
Uon """^''^" this personal controversy cannot be viewed as otherwise 
than derogatory to his character as an honest student of 
science. In 1811 he was appointed professor of historj' 
in the Lyceum of Grenoble, and three years afterwards 
he published his first work, entitled '' Egypt under the 
Pharaohs." It is a descriptive and geographical work, 
leaving untouched the question of hieroglyphic inscrip- 
tions, with the exception of the following vague allusion 
in its preface : — '"' That it is to be hoped from the monu- 
ments on which ancient Egypt painted mere material 
objects, we shall be able at length to discover the sounds 
of its language, and the expressions of its thought." At 
this time the Rosetta Stone had been in England for 
upwards of twelve years, and copies, casts, and partial 
translations of it had been famihar to scholars in eveiy 
country of Europe, yet absolutely nothing had been 
done to elucidate the mysterj' of hieroglyphic writing, 
save the shrewd observation due to Akerblad, that the 
numerals at the end of the hieroglyphic inscription cor- 
responded with the termination of that in Greek ; and 
that it was evident moreover from the tenor of the 
Greek inscription, that the hieroglyphic language and 
characters continued to be employed and understood so 
late as the reign of Ptolemy Epiphanes. Seven years 
elapsed, at the end of which Champollion published a 
second work, entitled " Of the Hieratic Writing of the 
Ancient Egj'ptians," in which he expresses the opinion, 
" That the hieratic characters are merely a modification 
of the hieroglyphic symbols, adopted for the sake of 
brevity, and forming a sort of hieroglyphic short-hand ; 
and that neither were alphabetic characters, as had been 
supposed by some, both the hieratic characters and the 
hieroglyphic characters, from whence they proceed, being 
the representatives of objects and not of sounds," This, 
which was published in the year 1821, leaves no possible 

His second 


room to doubt that ChampoUion was ignorant at that CHAP. XL 
time, not only of the phonetic value of a single Egyj^tian 
hieroglyphic or hieratic character, but that he positively 
disbelieved in any such value having ever been attached 
to them. To one who examines into the nature of the Inconsistent 
controversy, and considers what was already known by c''"<=^'^'"''^- 
means of the Greek version of the inscription, it seems 
surprising that the French professor should have put 
forth such an affirmation which rested on no better foun- 
dation than ignorance. The characters in which the 
second version of the Rosetta inscription is engraved, are 
styled in the Greek enchoria gramviata, or letters of the 
country. Such a term doubtless might possibly apply to 
charactei*s expressive of objects only, but it seems ex- 
tremely unlikely, and would almost naturally suggest 
an opposite conclusion. The enchorial, indeed, differs Enchorial 
from the hieratic, but apparently only in degree, both ^^"fting'^'*'"' 
being, what M. ChampoUion in his work " De TEcriture 
Hieratique des Anciens Egyptiens," affirmed of the for- 
mer, modifications of the hieroglyphic system, or, in 
other words, a hieroglyphic tachygraphy, or abbreviated 
mode of writing. This opinion, however, would seem 
naturally to lead to the very opposite opinion from that 
expressed by ChampoUion, that the hieratic characters, 
and consequently the hieroglypliic, are signs of things, 
not signs of sounds. 

Long before ChampoUion had given such unequivocal Dr, Tiiomas 
expression to opinions since proved to be erroneous and 
imfounded. Dr. Thomas Young, whom Arago has pro- 
nounced to be " one of the gi-eatest men of whom Eng- 
land has had to boast in modern times," was amusing 
himself with hierological investigations pregnant with 
the most momentous results. The following is Dr. 
Young's own account of the investigations founded on 
the Rosetta inscriptions ; — " The pillar of Rosetta was 
now safely and quietly deposited in the British Museum ; 
the Society of Antiquaries had engraved, and very gener- 
ally circulated, a correct copy of its three inscriptions ; 


CHAP. XI. and several of the best scholars of the age, in particular 
Greek Porson and Heyne, had employed themselves in corn- 

version of pleting and illustrating the Greek text, which consti- 
inscription. tuted the third part of the inscription ; and it so hap- 
pened that, although no person acquainted with both 
these critics could hesitate to give the general prefer- 
ence, for acuteness of observation, and felicity of conjec- 
ture, and soundness of judgment, to the English pro- 
fessor, yet in this instance the superior industry and 
vigilance of the German had given him decidedly the ad- 
vantage, with respect to two or three passages, in which 
their translations happen to differ. But Greek was 
already sufficiently understood, both in London and at 
Gottingen, to make this part of the investigation compa- 
Akerbiaciand ratively insignificant. Mr. Akerblad, a diplomatic gen- 
iabour2 ^ tleman, then at Paris, but afterwards the Swedish resi- 
dent at Rome, had begun to decipher the middle division 
of the inscription, after De Sacy had given up the pur- 
suit as hopeless, notwithstanding that he had made out 
very satisfactorily the names of Ptolemy and Alexander. 
But both he and Mr. Akerblad proceeded upon the 
erroneous, or at least imperfect, evidence of the Greek 
authors, who have pretended to explain the different 
modes of writing among the ancient Egyptians, and who 
have asserted very distinctly that they employed on 
many occasions an alphabetical sj'stem composed of 
twenty-five letters only." 
Difficulties of So difficult was the task of mastering the hieroglyphi- 
temp . ^^^ riddle, even after the key had been discovered by 
which its secret stores have been unlocked. Such vague 
and uncertain speculations proved nearly the sole results 
of the Rosetta Stone for above fourteen years, and the 
professor of history at Grenoble had, as we have seen, 
after twenty years possession of the triplicate inscription 
of Ptolemy Epiphanes, turned it to no better account than 
to deny the phonetic chai-acter of either the hieroglyphic 
or enchorial signs, of which he afterwards claimed to be 
the first and sole discoverer. To return, however, to Dr. 


Young's nairative of his discoveries in hieroglyphic liter- CHAP. xi. 
ature, after glancing at one source of error in the inter- jiisah^ted 
esting investigations of Mr. Akerblad, and alluding to the ^f^°^If "J 
unnecessary rejection by ChampoUion of the term encho- 
rial, which he had adopted from the Greek inscription, 
to designate the popular Egyptian writing, and the substi- 
tution of the name demotic, he goes on to say : — " Mr. 
Akerblad was far from having completed his exami- 
nation of the whole enchorial inscription, apparently 
from the want of some collateral encouragement or 
co-operation, to induce him to continue so laborious 
an inquiry ; and he had made little or no effort to un- 
derstand the first inscription of the pillar, which is pro- 
fessedly engraved in the sacred character, except the 
detached observation respecting the numerals at the end : 
he was even disposed to acquiesce in the correctness of 
Mr. Palin's interpretation, which proceeds on the suppo- 
sition that parts of the first lines of the hieroglyphics are 
Btill remaining on the stone. 

" It was natural to expect that, after the possibility of inducement 
a partial success, in this part of the undertaking, had exertions. 
been almost demonstrated by what Mr. Akerblad had 
cursorily observed, the critics and chronologists of all 
civilized countries would have united, heart and hand, in 
a common effort to obtain a legitimate solution of all the 
doubts and difficulties in which the early antiquities of 
Egj^pt had long remained involved. But, excepting M. FniiHess 
ChampoUion and myself, they have all chosen to amuse p\^i,"ed. 
themselves with their own speculations and conjectures. 
The mathematicians of France have continued to calcu- 
late, and the metaphysicians of England have continued 
to argue, upon elements which it was impossible either 
to prove or disprove ; while the fortuitous coincidences 
of some accidental results, with the collateral testimony 
of histoiy or of astronomy, have been forced into the ser- 
vice of the delusion, as evidences of the tnith of the 
hypotheses from which they had been deduced. Nor 
are these amusements even at this moment discontinued 


CHAP XI. by some perhaps who have shown themselves capable of 

doing better things. 
r>r. Young's " jt -^vas early in the year 1814, that I had been exa- 
cedure. mining the fragments of papjTus brought from Egypt by 

Mr, Boughton ; and tliat, after looking over Mr. Aker- 
blad's pamphlet in a hasty manner, I communicated a 
few anonymous remarks on them to the Society of Anti- 
quaries. In the summer of that year I took the triple 
inscription with me to Worthmg, and there proceeded to 
examine first the enchorial inscription, and afterwai-ds 
the sacred characters. By an attentive and methodical 
First partiai comparison of the ditferent parts with each other, I had 
«cip itiins. gy^(jigjjt]y deciphered the whole, in the course of a few 
months, to be able to send, as an appendix to the paper 
printed in the Archseologia, a translation of each of the 
Egyptian inscriptions considered separately, distinguish- 
ing the contents of the different lines, with as much pre- 
cision as my materials would enable me to obtain. It is 
evident that this division of the translation supposes, in 
general, a distinction of the significations of the single 
words; and that any person, with a little attention, might 
retrace my steps, with regard to the sense that I attri- 
buted to each part of the two inscriptions. I was obliged 
Imperfect to leave many important passages still subject to some 
^^^ ^ doubt, and I hoped to acquire additional information, 

before I attempted to determine their signification witli 
accuracy; but, having made the first great step, I con- 
cluded that many others might be added with faciUty and 
with rapidity. In this conclusion, however, I was some- 
what mistaken ; and when we reflect that, in the case of 
the Chinese, the only hieroglyphical language now ex- 
tant, it is considered as a task requiring the whole labour 
of a learned life, to become acquainted with the greater 
part of the words, even among those who are in the habit 
of employing the same language for the ordinary purposes 
of life, and who have the assistance of accm-ate and volu- 
minous grammars and dictionaries : we shall then be at 
no loss to understand that a hieroglyphical language, to 


be acquired by means of the precarious aid of a few mo- chap. XL 
numents, which have accidentally escaped the ravages of 
time and of barbarism, must exhibit a combination of 
difficulties almost insurmoimtable to human industry. 

" I had thought it necessary, in the pursuit of the in- Coiatcral 
quiry, to make myself in some measirre familiar with the ^"^ "^'^ 
remains of the old Egyptian language, as they are pre- 
served in the Coptic and Thebaic versions of the Sciip- 
tures; and I had hoped, with the assistance of this know- 
ledge, to be able to find an alphabet which would enable 
me to read the enchorial inscription at least into a kin- 
dred dialect. But, in the progress of the investigation, 
I had gradually been compelled to abandon this expec- 
tation, and to admit the conviction, that no such alpha- 
bet would ever be discovered, because it had never been 
in existence. 

" I was led to this conclusion, not only by the untract- concimions 
able nature of the inscription itself, which might have ^^^^^^^""' 
depended on my ovm want of information or of address, 
hut still more decidedly by the manifest occurrence of a 
multitude of characters, which were obviously imperfect 
imitations of the more intelligible pictures that were 
observable among the distinct hieroglyphics of the first 
inscription : such as a Priest, a Statue, and a Mattock siixtm-e of 
or Plough, which were evidently, in their primitive state, symbols, 
delineations of the objects intended to be denoted by 
them, and which were as evidently introduced among 
the enchorial characters. But whether or no any other 
significant words were expressed, in the same inscription, 
by means of the alphabet employed in it for foreign 
names, I could not very satisfactorily determine. 

" A cursory examination of the few well identified cha- Established 
racters, amounting to about 90 or 100, which the hiero- ''='*"'**• 
glyphical inscription, in its mutilated state, had enabled 
me to ascertain, was however sufficient to prove, first, 
that many simple objects were represented, as might 
naturally be supposed, by their actual delineations ; 
secondly, that many other objects, represented gi-aphi- 




Jfode of ex- 

Tlie car- 

Priority of 
Dr. Yoij Jg. 

Further prfK 

cally, were used in a figurative sense only, while a great 
number of the symbols, in frequent use, could be consi- 
dered as the pictures of no existing objects whatever; 
thirdly, that, in order to express a plurality of objects, a 
dual was denoted by a repetition of the character, but 
that three characters of the same kind, following each 
other, implied an indefinite plurality, which was like- 
wise more compendiously represented by means of three 
lines or bars attached to a single character ; fourthly, 
tlmt definite numbers were expressed by dashes for 
units, and arches, either round or square, for tens; fifthly, 
that all hieroglyphical inscriptions were read from front 
to rear, as the objects naturally follow each other; sixthly, 
that proper names were included by the oval ring, or 
border, or cartouche, of the sacred characters, and often 
between two fragments of a similar border in the run- 
ning hand ; and, seventhly, that the name of Ptolemy 
alone existed on this pillar, having only been completely 
identified by the assistance of the analysis of the encho- 
rial inscription. And. as far as I have ever heard or read, 
not one of these particulars had ever been established 
and placed on record, by any other person, dead or 

Thus much had Dr. Young accomplished, — unless we 
deduct the comparatively unimportant exception of the 
learned Dane Zoega's earlier suggestion of the proba- 
ble significance of the ovals or cartouches, as indicat- 
ing proper names, — while Champollion was still main- 
taining the purely symbolic character of all Egyptian 

It is unnecessary to follow out Dr. Young's narrative 
of the ingenious process of study and induction, by 
means of which he turned to such valuable account 
the inscriptions, not only of the Rosetta Stone, but also 
of the written papyri, containing both Greek and encho- 
rial inscriptions. The following singular and most in- 
teresting occurrence in the historj"^ of the first discove- 
ries in hieroglyphic literature, is well worthy of note. 


Mr., afterwards Sir George Francis Grey, an intelligent CHA.P.XI. 
traveller, returning from Egypt, in 1822, brought with jir ^^^ 
him a letter from Sir William Gell to Dr. Young, and r-turn from 
deposited with the latter some of the most valuable 
fi'uits of his explorations amid the ancient relics of 
Egj-ptian art, including several fine specimens of writ- 
ing and drawing on papyrus, which he had purchased 
from an Arab at Thebes, in 1820. Previous to Dr. 
Young's obtaining possession of these, an individual of 
the name of Casati arrived at Paris, bringing -v^ith him Efr>-ptian 
a parcel of Egyptian manuscripts, among which Cham- ^^^^"^^ 
poUion observed one which bore in its preamble some 
resemblance to the enchorial text on the Rosetta Stone. 
This discovery naturally excited much interest ; and Dr. 
Young having procured a copy of the papynis, proceeded 
to attempt to decipher and translate it. In this he had 
already made some progress when the arrival of Mr. 
Grey with the new papyri refen-ed to in the following 
remarks, threw a new and altogether unexpected light 
on his investigations. " Mr. Grey," says Dr. Young, Dr. Young 
" had the kindness to leave with me a box, containing ^f ^papj-^.'"'* 
several fine specimens of writing and drawing on papy- 
rus ; they were chiefly in hieroglj'phics, and of a mytho- 
logical nature ; but the two which he had before de- 
scribed to me, as particularly deserving attention, and 
which were brought, through his judicious precautions, 
in excellent preservation, both contained some Greek 
characters, written apparently in a pretty legible hand. 
He had purchased them of an Arab at Thebes, in Janu- 
ary 1820 ; and that which was most intelligible had 
appeared, at first sight, to contain some words relating to 
the service of the Christian church. Mr. Grey was so 
good as to give me leave to make any use of these manu- 
scripts that I pleased; and he readily consented to their 
insertion among the lithographic copies of the ' Hiero- 
glyphics, collected by the Egj'ptian Society,' which I 
undertook to superintend from time to time, in great 
measiire for the private use of an association of my own 




with Chain- 

CHAP. XL friends, not sufficiently numerous to insure any perma- 
nent stability to its continuance. 

" M. Champollion had done me the favour, while I was 
at Paris, to copy for me some parts of the veiy import- 
ant papjTus, which I have before mentioned as having 
given him the name of Cleopatra; and of which the dis- 
covery was certainly a great event in Egyptian litera- 
ture, since it was the first time that any intelligible 
characters, of the enchorial form, had been discovered 
among the many manuscripts and inscriptions that had 
been examined, and since it furnished M. Champol- 
lion at the same time with a name, which materially 
advanced, if I understood him rightly, the steps that 
have led him to his very important extension of the 
hieroglyphical alphabet. He had mentioned to me, in 
conversation, the names of Apollonius, ' Antiochus,' and 
Antigonus, as occurring among the witnesses; and I easily 
recognized the groups which he had deciphered: although, 
instead oi Antiochus, I read Antimachxis ; and I did not 
recollect at the time that he had omitted the m. 

" In the evening of the day that Mr. Grey had brought 
me his manuscripts, I proceeded impatiently to examine 
that which was in Greek only: and I could scarcely be- 
lieve that I was awake, and in my sober senses, when I 
observed, among the names of the witnesses, antimachus 
ANTiGENis : and, a few lines further back, portis apol- 
LONii ; although the last word could not have been very 
easily deciphered, without the assistance of the conjec- 
ture, which immediately occurred to me, that this manu- 
script might perhaps be a translation of the enchorial 
manuscript of Casati : I found that its beginning was, 
' A copy of an Egyptian writing . . . ;' and I proceeded 
to ascertain, that there were the same number of names, 
intervening between the Greek, and the Egyptian signa- 
tures, that I had identified, and that the same number 
followed the last of thera ; and the whole number of 
witnesses appeared to be sixteen in each. The last para- 
graph in the Greek began with the words, ' Copy of tlie 

SiDimlar co- 
incidence of 


Registry ;' for such must be the signification of the word CILVP. XT. 
IITflMATOS, employed in this papyrus, though it does 
not appear to occur anywhere else in a similar significa- 
tion. I covdd not, therefore, but conclude, that a most Pr. TomiK's 
extraordinary chance had brought into my possession a f^o"''"*'"""- 
document which was not very likely, in the first place, 
ever to have existed, still less to have been preserved 
uninjured, for my information, through a period of near 
two thousand years: but that this very extraordinary 
translation should have been brought safely to Europe, 
to England, and to me, at the veiy moment when it was 
most of all desirable to me to possess it, as the illustration 
of an original which I was then studying, but without 
any other reasonable hope of being able fully to compre- 
hend it ; this combination would, in other times, have 
been considered as affording ample evidence of my having 
become an Egj'ptian sorcerer. 

" M, Champollion had not thought it worth while to Correspond- 
give me a transcript of the original Greek endorsement : chanipoiijon. 
he seemed to consider it as not fully agi'eeing with tlie 
Egyptian text, or, at any rate, as not materially assisting 
in its interpretation : perhaps, also, he thought it best 
for me to try my strength upon the original, without any 
little assistance that might have been derived from it 
with respect to two or three of the names : or, as I am 
more disposed to believe, he was fearful of offending some 
of his countrymen, by making too public what he had no 
right to communicate without their leave : for, after an 
accidental delay of a month, the answer that I received 
from Paris was only such as to enable me to state that 
my opinion of the identity of the two endorsements is 
fully confii-med. I have lost, however, no time in send- 
ing to the Consei'vators of the King's cabinet a copy of ^ 
my registry ; with a request to be favoured with theirs 
in return, in order that I might have the same advantage 
from the comparison, which I voluntarily afforded the 
Parisian critics, without any reserve or delay ; and in 
order that the duplicates may stand side by side in the 



Liberality of 
M. Raoul 

CHAP. XI. lithographical copy, which has only waited for their 
answer, to have a vacant space filled iip, and to be sent 
to them entire. In the mean time, I have only to wish, 
that the philologists of Paris may do as ample justice to 
these papyri, as one of the most distinguished of their 
number, M. Letronne, has lately done to the inscriptions 
of the Oasis, of which I had made a very liasty transla- 
tion from a single copy only, not having had the means 
of comparing it properly with the second. 

" My application for the copy of the Registry has been 
received with the liberality which was to be expected 
from the director of a great institution, and I have to 
return my best thanks to M. Raoul Rochette, for a cor- 
rect copy of the whole of this highly-important manu- 
script, which I am happy to find that it is his intention 
to publish in a short time. I am most anxious to avoid 
anticipating him, in the gratification of the public curi- 
osity, with regard to this interesting relic : but as I find 
that some account of the Registry has already been made 
public by M. St. Martin, I conceive myself at liberty to 
make use, at least, of this part of the manuscript ; and I 
do not imagine that M. Raoul Rochette means to employ 
himself on the enchorial conveyance. 

" The contents of Mr. Grey's Greek manuscript are of 
a nature scarcely less remarkable than its preservation 
and discoverj'^ : it relates to the sale, not of a house or a 
field, but of a portion of the Collections and Offerings 
made from time to time on account, or for the benefit, of 
a certain number of Mummies, of persons described at 
length, in very bad Greek, with their children and all 
their households. The price is not very clearly expressed ; 
but as the portion sold is only a moiety of a third part 
, of the whole, and as the testimony of sixteen witnesses 
was thought necessary on the occasion, it is probable that 
the revenue, thus obtained by the priests, was by no 
means inconsiderable. 

" The result, derived at once from this comparison, is 
the identification of more than thirty proper names as 

Contents of 
the Greek 



they were written in the running hand of the countrj'. chap, xl 
It might appear, upon a supei-ficial consideration, that a jdentifioi- 
mere catalogue of proper names would be of little com- ^°^ of pro- 

° ^ . ^ 111 V^^ names. 

parative value in assistmg us to recover the lost elements 
of a language. But, in fact, they possess a considerable 
advantage, in the early stages of such an investigation, 
from the greater facility and certainty vcith. which they 
are identified, and from their independence of any gram- 
matical inflexions, at least in the present case ; by means 
of which they lead us immediately to a full understand- 
ing of the orthographical system of the language, where 
any such system can be traced. 

" The general inference, to be derived from an exami- Value uf the 
nation of the names now discovered, is somewhat more ''^'^' 
in favour of an extensive employment of an alphabetical 
mode of writing, than any that could have been deduced 
from the pillar of Rosetta, which exhibits, indeed, only 
foreign names, and affords us therefore little or no infor- 
mation respecting the mode of writing the original Egj'p- 
tian names of the inhabitants." 

The reader can hardly fail to appreciate the value of Additional 
this singular discovery. Yet remarkable as the chance to imowiedge. 
appears which thus placed this Greek autograph in the 
hands of almost the only man in England capable of 
turning it to good account, it was by no means a solitary 
example of an Egyptian legal document. From the same 
invaluable stores, secured by the enterprise and diligence 
of Mr. Gra^^, Dr. Young procured various Egyptian con- 
veyances in the enchorial character, with separate regis- 
tries on the margin in legible Greek. By means of these, 
many additional examples of enchorial proper names 
were obtained. But their value must by no means be TlieircompH- 
limited to this. Historians and archaeologists have been native value. 
engaged for years past, diligently recovering from every 
dusty charter chest and neglected record oflBce the char- 
tularies of the middle ages, and rejoicing, as over disco- 
vered treasures, when they were so fortunate as to light 
on a parchment bearing date in the eleventh or twelfth 



lion's letter 
to U. Dacier. 

CHAP. XL century*. But here were documents relating to the sale 
of lands in the neighbourhood of Thebes, more than a 
thousand years prior to that date which British histo- 
rians are content to look upon as almost the remotest era 
of definite WTitten records. 

In 1822, the year following ChampolUon's publication 
of his work " On the Hieratic Writing of the Ancient 
Egyptians," he issued from the Parisian press a letter 
addressed to M. Dacier, the secretary of the Academy of 
Inscriptions and Belles Lettres. " relative to the alphabet 
of phonetic hieroglj'phics used by tlie Egyptians in in- 
scribing on their monuments the titles, the names, and 
the surnames, of Greek and Roman sovereigns." In this 
publication he retracted his former statements, and 
argued in favour of the alphabetic use of hieroglyphic 
symbols, which Dr. Young had demonstrated two years 
earlier. In a later work he went further, and in defiance 
of the distinctly expressed opinions introduced in his 
preface " De 1 Ecriture Hieratique des Anciens Egyp- 
tiens" of 1821, he claims to have discovered contempo- 
raneously with Dr. Young, the phonetic character of the 
Egyptian hieroglyphics, and the definite value of certain 
of their symbols. 

It is deeply to be regretted that this interesting and 
most important study should thus have been impeded 
at its outset by personal discussions and national jeal- 
ousies. It is impossible for the impartial investigator to 
question for a moment that the initiatory steps on which 
all the later discoveries in hierology are based must be 
ascribed to Dr. Young, and to him alone. But M. Cham- 
poUion's conduct is the more to be regretted, since he 
has a right to all the merit of many most important 
discoveries by which these earliest disclosures have been 
turned to account, and might well spare to the Eng- 
lish scholar the honour of such contributions as he was 
able to make to the study of Egyptian hieroglyphics, in 
the rare moments he could snatch from the engrossing 
calls of less congenial occupations. 

excited by 
the contro- 


It is not easy for the ordinary reader to conceive of the chap, xl 
immense difficulties which surround the investigator into DifGciijtics 
the mysteries of Egyptian hieroglyphics, though it can oftheinves- 
hardly fail to impress him with some sense of this when 
he considers that nearly twenty years elapsed, during 
which copies of the Rosetta inscription were placed in 
the hands of nearly- all the most distinguished scholars 
of Europe, before even the question of phonetic usage 
was settled, or the value of a very few of the hieroglyphic 
characters established. The following popular summary 
of these difficulties, introduced by Miss Martineau in her 
" Eastern Life, Present and Past," will convey to the 
general reader some idea of the obstacles which have to 
be surmounted in this attractive but most laborious in- 
vestigation : — '■ One of the most interesting inquiries to popniar 
us is about the language of these people. To form any snmmaiy 
idea of the labours of modem interpreters of the monu- 
ments, we must remember that they have not only to 
read the perfectly singular cipher of these writers on 
stone, but to find their veiy language. Of course, the 
only hope is in the study of the Coptic ; and the Coptic 
became almost a dead language in the twelfth century of The Coptic 
our era, and entirely so in the seventeenth, after having ' " '"^ 
been for ages corrupted by the admixture of foreign 
terms, going on at the same time with the loss of old na- 
tive ones. Egypt never had any permanent colonies in 
which her language might be preserved during the ages 
when one foreign power after another took possession of 
her valley, and rendered the language of her people 
compound and corrupt. Without repeating here the long 
and well-known story of the progress of discovery of the 
ancient language, it is enough to give the results thug 
far attained. 

" The key not only to the cipher, but to the language, Koy to the 
was afforded ])y the discovery of the same inscription '^''' "' 
written, as the inscription itself declared, in three lan- 
guages — the Greek, the Enchorial or ordinary Egyptian 
writing, and the old sacred character. The most ancient 





relation of 
Coi)tic to the 

Ignorance of 
its pram- 
matical con- 


of further 

was found to Dear a close relation to the Coptic, as then 
known : a relation probably, as has been observed by a 
recent vsTiter, ' similar to that which the Latin does to 
the Italian, the Zend to the modern Persian, or the 
Sanscrit to many of the vernacular dialects now spoken 
in India.' This key was applied with wonderful saga- 
city and ingenuity by Charapollion the younger, who 
proceeded a good deal further than reading the names 
and titles of the kings and their officers. He ventured 
upon introducing or deciphering (whichever it may be 
called) many words not to be found in the later Coptic, 
except in their supposed roots, nor, of course, anywhere 
else. The great difficulty is that, the language having, 
by lapse of ages, lost its original power of graminatical 
inflexion, a quality which it seems scarcely possible to 
restore, tlie relations of ideas in a sentence, which in the 
more modern Coptic are expressed by auxiliary terms, 
must be disposed by conjecture, or by doubtful internal 
comparison and analog}'. It is easy to see how thus, 
while names and titles, and all declaratory terms may 
be read, when once the alphabet is secured, all beyond 
must be in a high degree conjectural, at least till the 
stock of terms is largely increased. The stock is on the 
increase, however. ChampoUion made a noble begin- 
ning : Dr. Lepsius has corrected him in some important 
instances ; and the Chevalier Bunsen has offered a Lexi 
con of the old Egyptian language, placing above four 
hundred words in comparison with the known Coptic. 
This is a supply which will go a good way in reading the 
legends on the monuments ; by which process, again, we 
may be helped to more. The very singular nature of 
the alphabet being once understood, and the beginning 
of a Lexicon being supplied, there seems reason to hope 
that the process of discovery may be carried on by the 
application of one fresh mind after another to the task 
which all must see to be as important as any which can 
occupy the human faculties. Or, if all do n